March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month

February 19, 2019

The month of March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho would like to bring awareness to the Idaho public on the prevalence and prevention of brain injuries, as well as where information and resources can be found in Idaho.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, every 15 seconds someone sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States and 4,700 people sustain a brain injury every day. An estimated 5.3 million U.S. citizens (2% of the population) are living with permanent TBI related disabilities. In Idaho, about 3,224 individuals sustain a TBI every year. About 37,000 Idahoans are living with a severe TBI. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center reports more than 262,000 U.S. military service members have been diagnosed with TBI.

A traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. Nationally, the leading causes of TBI are falls, being struck by or against an object, and motor vehicle accidents. Severity of a TBI can range from “mild” to “severe.” A concussion is a brain injury and the effects can be serious.

Symptoms of a TBI can include short and long term issues affecting thinking, concentration or memory; motor skills; physical sensations (vision, headache, dizziness, hearing); or emotional functioning (personality changes, depression, irritability). Although there are many different symptoms related to having a brain injury, no two brain injuries are alike. These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities. If you suspect you or a loved one have experienced a brain injury, no matter how long it has been, see a doctor immediately.

Protect your brain! The risk of a TBI can be reduced by wearing a seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. Always buckle children into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Keep firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet and store bullets in a separate secured location. Wearing a helmet can decrease the severity of a brain injury and even save a life. Adults and children should wear helmets when riding a bike, e-scooter, motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle; playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing; using in-line skates or riding a skateboard; batting and running bases in baseball or softball; riding a horse; or skiing and snowboarding.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho (BIAID) is a statewide non-profit organization that promotes awareness, understanding, and prevention of all types of brain injuries. BIAID provides support, advocacy, and resource information. The Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho is committed to linking with community organizations and professionals who can collectively coordinate on behalf of a better future for individuals with brain injury and their families. In addition, the efforts of the Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho advocate for public awareness and prevention of brain injuries. The Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho can be contacted through email at info@biaid.org or by calling (208) 385-3013. Please call this number for information and questions about statewide resources available for Idahoans with brain injury and their families. A toll free Family Helpline (1-800-444-6443) is also available with assistance from individuals who are familiar with the challenges of brain injury. The Brain Injury Alliance of Idaho has a website at www.biaid.org with helpful information regarding state-wide support groups and many other resources.