Brain Injury Awareness Month 2018
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. This year’s theme is #ChangeYourMind. The goal is to educate the public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of those with brain injuries and their families. Every 9 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. Those who survive may recover within a few days or be affected for the rest of their lives.
At least 5.3 million Americans live with a disability related to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). A TBI occurs when there is a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts brain function. The leading causes of TBI include: falling, being struck by or against an object, a motor vehicle accident, and assault.
One type of TBI that is frequently discussed is the concussion, or a bruise to the brain. Thanks to media attention and the professional sports arena, there has been a significant increase in discussion and education related to concussions in athletes and ways to prevent these brain injuries.
The number of people who sustain a TBI and do not seek treatment is unknown. Many times, a concussion will go undiagnosed because it may take hours or days for signs and symptoms to occur. If there is a suspected concussion, always seek medical evaluation. If a second concussion happens before the first one has fully healed, it may cause permanent brain damage.
There are many ways to help prevent brain injuries in your everyday life and when engaging in athletic events, especially impact sports. A great place to start is by creating a Concussion Action Plan for your team or league. This may include:
- Removing the athlete from play on the same day the injury occurs, and only allowing the athlete to continue play after being evaluated and cleared by a healthcare professional.
- Recording details of the incident and providing this information to the healthcare professional and parents or guardians.
- Asking for written instructions from the healthcare professional about steps to take to help the athlete return safely to play.
Always play it safe and have a concussion evaluated!