The subject of brain injury is not discussed frequently, even though it affects millions of Americans. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious condition that can have life-long effects for the victim. Sadly, people who suffer from TBI often do so without the support and assistance they need to help them manage their condition. In response, Brain Injury Awareness Month was created to help educate the public about this widespread condition.
A lack of awareness of brain injury and its impacts can be traced to a number of factors:
- Scientific research still has gaps in detection, diagnosis, detection, and treatment
- It is an “invisible” condition, meaning it is difficult to tell if someone is affected
- People can be unaware that someone is living with a brain injury — even close friends and family members
Brain injuries are among the most common disabilities and medical conditions among Americans. Consider the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- An estimated 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with a permanent TBI-related disability in the U.S.
- Approximately 230,000 people are hospitalized each year due to brain injuries
- About 80,000 to 90,000 people experience the onset of long-term brain injury-related disability every year
- The annual economic burden of TBI in the U.S. is approximately $37.8 billion
Broad legislation and institutional changes take time to develop and can be slow to implement. So, it’s up to individuals to help spread awareness and inform others about what we can do to help. This article will discuss ways you can participate in Brain Injury Awareness Month, which was created by the Brain Injury Awareness Association (BIAA). But first, let’s discuss what brain injury is and how it affects people.
What Is Brain Injury? Signs and Symptoms
Brain injuries can be categorized into two main categories: traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and acquired brain injuries (ABI). TBI generally results from a blow to the head, such as those caused by a fall or a car accident. ABI is an all-inclusive term that covers any injury caused to the brain after birth. It can include brain injuries caused by a stroke or by lack of oxygen (such as when a person experiences a near-death drowning incident).
TBI can be caused in cases that don’t involve a direct strike or blow to the head. For instance, it can result from an accident where a person’s body is jarred, such as in a whiplash accident.
Signs and symptoms of TBI can involve many different aspects of everyday life. These can include:
- Thought Processes: Difficulty thinking clearly, feeling “slowed down,” having trouble concentrating, speech issues, and problems retaining new information.
- Physical Symptoms: These can include headache, blurred vision, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, noise or light sensitivity, balance problems, and a lack of energy.
- Emotional Symptoms: TBI can cause changes in a person’s usual mood patterns, such as irritability, unexplained sadness, nervousness, or anxiety.
- Sleep Patterns: Brain injuries can alter a person’s sleep habits, causing them to sleep more than usual or less than usual. They may also experience difficulties falling asleep.
Part of the reason why brain injury is so complex is that it manifests differently for each person. Medical tests might not reveal any physical alterations to the brain, but the person may experience behavioral changes. Also, many brain injury symptoms might not appear until days or even weeks after an accident or concussion.
Brain injuries can range from very mild to severe and even life-threatening. However, even mild cases of brain injuries can lead to long-term, permanent changes in a person’s lifestyle.
Common Brain Injury Causes
Brain injuries can be caused by a number of different actions and situations. The most common causes include:
- Falling down
- Car accidents
- Sports concussions
- Intentional strikes to the head (such as in a fight)
- Work-related incidents
- Medical malpractice
The exact cause of the brain injury can influence outcomes, like legal liability for a claim, and the victim’s ability to recover damages. A damages award can help cover losses such as medical bills, lost wages, a loss of the ability to generate income in the future, pain and suffering, and other costs. Legal action may be needed to help the victim and their family recover such damages.
Participate in Brain Injury Awareness Month: #ChangeYourMind Campaign
There are several ways you can participate in Brain Injury Awareness Month. This year’s campaign theme is #ChangeYourMind, aimed at destigmatizing brain injuries, empowering survivors, and promoting the types of support available. A few steps you can take to play your part include:
Download and Distribute Shareable Content
Downloading, sharing, and reposting educational materials is a great way to raise traumatic brain injury awareness. These include statistics, posters, and other items. The BIAA and other similar organizations provide useful materials.
Engage on Social Media and Forums
It can be challenging to find people who are open to discussing brain injuries. However, there are many social media groups, forums, and chats dedicated to exactly these types of discussions. Participating in online discourse is a great way to learn more about the subject, hear personal stories, and share your own experiences with others.
Share Your Story
You never know who you might touch by sharing your own personal experiences involving a brain injury. Whether you’re a brain injury survivor, a caregiver, or a friend or family member, your insights can provide much-needed encouragement, support, and inspiration.
There may be many people in the same situation as you who need to hear what you’re going through, so they understand they’re not alone. Personal blogs and videos are excellent channels to share your story through.
How Brain Injuries Affect People’s Lives
As you can imagine, the range of symptoms suffered by a brain injury victim can cause profound changes in the way they live their lives. A seemingly minor change, such as a feeling of being “slowed down” could affect several areas of a person’s life. Brain injuries can affect:
- Relationships and marriages
- Work performance
- Everyday tasks like walking, exercising, or driving
- The ability to engage in hobbies and other activities
In many cases, it is the family members of a brain injury victim that need to assist the injured person with their new lifestyle. For instance, they may need to help them with their everyday routine, drive them places, or provide other support. Brain Injury Awareness Month therefore also recognizes the assistance and efforts of those who care for brain injury patients.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injuries can create serious challenges for both the survivor as well as their network of friends and families. If you or a loved one have been affected by TBI or other similar injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.
Get in touch with a lawyer at The Flood Law Firm for help with your brain injury case. Our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us at (877) 987-9529 to speak confidentially with a lawyer about your claims.