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Keep in Mind Brain Injury Awareness Day, March 12, 2014

Brain Injury Awareness

By Jacob Regar

As part of America's effort to focus on the harmful effects of brain injury, Brain Injury Awareness Day will be held on March 12, 2014. This important day of health awareness is promoted by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and the U.S. Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a blow or jolt to the head that creates unnatural force or movement of the brain and impairs normal brain function. According to statistics released by the BIAA, there are 2.4 million people, including 475,000 children that suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. Of those who suffer a TBI, 52,000 will die from the injury.

It is known that approximately 75% of TBIs that occur each year stem from mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI), which are commonly referred to as concussions. MTBIs should not be overlooked as a genuine health concern. Even mild concussions and post-concussion syndrome, which frequently occur in sports and low impact motor vehicle collisions, can cause life-long injuries.

It was widely reported in August 2013 that the NFL had reached a settlement, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, over brain injuries caused by concussions that occurred on the football field.

One of the most alarming statistics from the BIAA is that 10% of TBI's are caused by violent assaults. These attacks can certainly be avoided because they are committed intentionally.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information that among all ages, motor vehicle collisions account for 14% of all TBIs that occur in the U.S.. This makes collisions the third leading cause of TBIs.

A study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009, titled Motorcycle Helmet Use and Head and Facial Injuries, found that proper use of helmets by motorcycle riders reduces the odds of suffering a TBI in a wreck. In fact, helmeted riders are 41% less likely than unhelmeted riders to suffer a TBI in a single-vehicle crash. This is just more incentive for riders to protect themselves and their families by wearing DOT approved helmets every time they ride.

Interestingly, males have been nearly three times as likely to die from TBI complications as females.

Given these facts, it is time that Americans take extra precaution to protect themselves and others from the harmful effects of TBI. No person deserves to suffer through this debilitating condition. Remember to stay mindful of TBIs as we approach Brain Injury Awareness day this month.