The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the nation’s oldest and largest brain injury advocacy organization, reports that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. This association joins a nationwide network of affiliated brain injury groups dedicated to raising awareness and support for those who suffer such an injury, which includes both military and civilian populations.
On average, 1.7 million people sustain a brain injury each year, potentially causing a lifetime of cognitive, physical, and behavioral challenges. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) contributes to about one third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. TBIs are caused in the following proportions:
- 35% falls
- 17% car crashes
- 16% workplace accidents
- 10% assaults
- 21% other causes
In addition to the physical and emotional toll, TBIs present a tremendous financial burden to patients and their families. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that in the U.S. each year, direct medical and indirect TBI costs come to an estimated $76.3 billion.
However, with the support of these groups, patients can receive the assistance and care that will greatly increase their overall quality of life. In addition, self-advocates, families, and volunteers also take part in this annual event at a grassroots level.
President and CEO of BIAA, Susan H. Connors, explains that “Brain Injury Awareness Month honors the millions of people with brain injury, who with proper acute care, therapeutic rehabilitation and adequate long-term supports, are living with the successes and challenges that each day brings.” She explains that the goal’s for this year include increasing access to care, preserving research, and sustaining and improving brain injury programs.
BIAA notes that because a brain injury can happen to anyone, at anytime, we all need to have access to “comprehensive rehabilitation and ongoing disease management.” By ensuring access to this care, improvements to the following areas of concern are seen:
- Medical complications
- Permanent disability
- Family dysfunction
- Job loss
- Medical indigence
- Taxpayer burden
- Criminal activity
Citizens are encouraged to get involved with this month’s activities by reaching out to their state BIAA affiliate to see how they can help. Individuals are also encouraged to use social media and contact local media outlets to help raise awareness and interest in this cause that affects so many.
On Wednesday, March 21, Brain Injury Awareness Day will be held on Capitol Hill. Events at this event will include an awareness fair, briefing, and reception. This single-day event strives to remind members of Congress how important this advocacy effort is to their constituents and ensure every effort is made to promote awareness and support of this important cause.
To contact your BIAA state affiliate and see how you can contribute to this year’s success,click here.