My Life With a TBI: March Is National Brain Injury Awareness Month

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According to the Brain Injury Association of America, each year an estimated 2.4 million children and adults in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) from nontraumatic causes. TBIs can affect the functionality of the brain—affecting thinking, reasoning, and memory. Whether the victim is an adult, a child, or an infant, TBIs can have a major impact on individuals and their families.

To raise awareness of traumatic brain injury, the Brain Injury Association of America recognizes National Brain Injury Awareness Month every March. The NCTSN offers the following resources on traumatic brain injury for families, medical professionals, and military families. (For more information)

There are three levels of traumatic brain injuries: mild, moderate and severe. Don’t let these names fool you. A mild TBI is just as serious as a moderate or severe one. The names refer to loss of consciousness and mental alteration as a result of the trauma. In my case, I have no idea if I became unconscious, I lost all since of time, where I was and who I was so, I was classified as “mild”. But like I said, don’t let the name fool you. The resulting damage can be the same for all three — a TBI does not discriminate.

A TBI changes you. Literally and figuratively. My personality is different. My energy levels and sleep patterns are foreign to me. The confused woman in the kitchen staring at the oven is someone I am just now starting to understand. The woman who has to write a Post-it note for every single task on her to-do list is no longer the multi-tasker she once was. The woman who used to type at 100 words per minute with zero mistakes now has to take her time and correct many keystroke errors as she goes because her brain gets confused with letters. The woman who had a great job that helped others is no longer there and has become the person who needs help. I am lucky I have a husband who is there for me. He is very understanding because I am not the person who he knew before this happened to me. Every day is trying for me and some days trying to find the right word and/or dealing with noise can set me off for example.

Let me start by offering you some statistics on TBI from BrainTrauma.org:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults from ages 1 to 44.
  • Brain injuries are most often caused by motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, or simple falls on the playground, at work or in the home.
  • Every year, approximately 52,000 deaths occur from traumatic brain injury.
  • An estimated 1.5 million head injuries occur every year in the United States emergency rooms.
  • An estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related TBIs occur each year.
  • At least 5.3 million Americans, 2 percent of the U.S. population, currently live with disabilities resulting from TBI.
  • Moderate & severe head injury (respectively) is associated with a 2.3 and 4.5 times increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Males are about twice as likely as females to experience a TBI.
  • Exposures to blasts are a leading cause of TBI among active duty military personnel in war zones.
  • Veterans’ advocates believe that between 10 and 20 percent of Iraq veterans, or 150,000 and 300,000 service members have some level of TBI.
  • 30 percent of soldiers admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center have been diagnosed as having had a TBI.
  • The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.

Over the next month I will be posting more information on Brain Injury.cropped-i_heart_my_tbi_survivor_bumper_sticker-r63fa794093724c579af668f0af553e59_v9wht_8byvr_512_edited.jpg

 

 

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. AprilEsutton
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 13:24:23

    Very good information. I had a house near a facility for young people with TBI, and when we sold the house, it was to a family whose son had been injured. I ride a motor cycle and am always shocked at those who will risk TBI by not wearing a helmet.

    Reply

  2. hicamie
    Mar 03, 2015 @ 16:56:45

    Those statistics are mind boggling. I think everyone needs to be more aware of this. Thanks for being a voice!

    Reply

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