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March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain injuries are a common but unspoken fact of life for many people. Millions of Americans are affected by traumatic brain injuries (also called TBIs), but because the effects aren’t necessarily outwardly visible, especially to strangers, many of them suffer in silence. Not only that, but people with brain injuries may avoid social situations due to anxiety and awareness of their injury-related limitations, which keeps their plight hidden from the public.

To combat this problem, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has designated March as Brain Injury Awareness Month, and this year’s campaign has a special outreach-related theme titled “Not Alone.”

Brain Injury Awareness Month’s roots extend as far back as 1984, when Congress passed a joint resolution designating October as National Head Injury Awareness Month. Though the name and month have changed, the goal remains the same – raise awareness about brain injuries, educate the public about prevention and treatment, and provide funding and support for further research.

Facts about Brain Injuries

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually. Approximately 50,000 people die each year in the United States due to these injuries, and just under 300,000 are hospitalized. The leading cause of brain injuries is falls, followed by motor vehicle accidents and being struck by an object. Overall, more than 12 million Americans are currently living with the effects of a brain injury.

These numbers, though, barely begin to capture the scope of these injuries because they don’t include the many people, including parents, spouses, and children of brain injury victims, whose lives are indirectly impacted — sometimes in drastic ways — by their effects.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries have a wide range of symptoms, from the relatively minor to the completely debilitating. Some symptoms are immediately noticeable, while others may not appear for several days or weeks. In addition, symptoms can be either physical or cognitive/mental in nature.

Below is a list of some of the most common symptoms of a brain injury:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Unusual mood or behavioral changes

For even more detailed information about brain injuries and their symptoms, please visit our Brain Injuries practice area page.

Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries

 Not every brain injury can be prevented — especially if another person’s negligent actions cause the injury. However, in the interest of public safety, the following tips from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons can at least reduce your risk for a brain injury and help keep you and your loved ones safe. 

  • Always wear a helmet or protective head gear when participating in physical activities with the potential for head trauma, including (but not limited to):
    • Baseball and softball (when batting)
    • Cycling
    • Football
    • Hockey
    • Soccer
    • Horseback Riding
    • Powered recreational vehicles (ATVs, four-wheelers, etc.)
    • Skateboards/scooters
    • Skiing
    • Wrestling
    • Martial arts
    • Pole-vaulting
  • Supervise younger children at all times and don’t let them use sporting equipment or play sports unsuitable for their age.
  • Don’t let children use playgrounds with hard surface grounds.
  • Follow all rules and warning signs at water parks, swimming pools, and public beaches.
  • Don’t dive in water less than 12 feet deep or in above-ground pools. Check the depth and check for debris in the water before diving.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the sport.
  • Don’t wear clothing that can interfere with your vision.
  • Don’t participate in sports when you are ill or very tired.
  • Obey all traffic signals and be aware of drivers when cycling or skateboarding.
  • Avoid uneven or unpaved surfaces when cycling, skateboarding, or in-line skating.
  • Perform regular safety checks of sports fields, playgrounds and equipment.
  • Discard and replace sporting equipment or protective gear that is damaged.
  • Wear a seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or ride as a passenger with anybody else who is under the influence.

 Because falls are the most common way to sustain a brain injury, fall prevention is especially important in reducing the risk of a TBI. You can reduce your risk for a fall by following these tips:

  • Install handrails in the bathroom.
  • Use nonslip mats/rugs in the shower area.
  • Keep stairways free of clutter.
  • Improve lighting condition throughout the house.
  • Make sure area rugs are secure.
  • Do not allow children to play on balconies, fire escapes, or unsecure high places.

 For even more facts, tools, and public service announcements related to brain injuries and Brain Injury Awareness Month 2017, you can visit the Brain Injury Association of America’s official website at http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-awareness-month.htm.

Unfortunately, far too many victims suffer brain injuries not because of any actions or lack of cautionary steps they took, but because of other people’s negligence. At Perry Charnoff PLLC, we support and fight for these victims to help them find justice and compensation for their injuries.

Contact Perry Charnoff PLLC If You’ve Been Injured

If you or someone you love has suffered from a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, please give the attorneys at Perry Charnoff a call at (703) 291-6650 to schedule a free consultation. You can also fill out our convenient online contact form and we’ll follow up to get in touch with you. Statutes of limitation do apply to personal injury cases, so please don’t delay — get in touch with our legal team today.

 The content provided in this website/blog is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

References

About Us. Brain Injury Association of America (2015). Retrieved from http://www.biausa.org/About-Us/about-brain-injury-association.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Get the stats on traumatic brain injury in the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/BlueBook_factsheet-a.pdf

Head injury prevention tips. (n.d.). Brainline.org. Retrieved from http://www.brainline.org/content/2011/04/head-injury-prevention-tips.html

Traumatic brain injury symptoms. (2014, May). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/symptoms/con-20029302