MARCH is Head Injury Awareness Month

While head injuries can and do occur throughout each and every year, there are also times when outdoor activities increase so does the risk of head injuries.  These can range from bike riding to rollerblading and skateboarding to other sports.  Soccer, for example, was recently in the news because of a study of a young man who was an accomplished youth, high school, and college soccer player but who died at a young age.  His family had the head injury group studying the effects of football (and now other sports) on the brain (chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)). This particular player was estimated to have had thousands and thousands of sub-concussive blows from practices and games over his lifetime but these sub-concussive blows lead to significant findings of CTE in this young man.  Many parents are now having their children wear protective headgear specifically for soccer players (for head collision protection and headers) or restricting headers. 

There are many resources online and through local brain injury resource centers about head injuries and care and treatment.  For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has excellent references about concussions and head injury causes, care and treatment, and long-term effects:  http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html

 Concussions are serious injuries that are now being recognized for the serious and potentially long-term consequences they can cause.  Each person is different, but each person’s brain is important.  While the medical terminology categorizes brain injuries as mild, moderate, and severe, it is established in the medical field that a clinical diagnosis of a mild traumatic brain injury is a serious injury and is not to be misunderstood as non-serious.  Moreover, most mild traumatic brain injuries will not be revealed from diagnostic tests because those tests cannot always detect the microscopic harms that have occurred.  The CDC and many specialists recognize that MTBI can have serious and long-term impact on a person’s cognitive, physical and psychological function.  Many times the real effects are not known or appreciated until the person goes back to work, or as school demands increase (from 3rd grade to 8th grade science or math, for example). 

 There are estimates that a traumatic brain injury occurs once about every 16 seconds throughout the United States.  Many of these injuries are caused by people choosing to violate fundamental safety rules that govern our lives and protect everyone.  While not every head injury is preventable, many are.  And the resources for and awareness about head injuries continue to grow.

 There are free apps about head injuries and prevention, including the signs and symptoms of concussions to bike helmet and car safety. 

 Because of the rise of military actions and experience with explosions (IEDs), military members and their families, and military medical specialists, are well aware of the consequences of a traumatic brain injury.  Military members are also seeing an increase in awareness about TBIs and treatment, ranging from vision therapy to speech therapy and counseling needs:  http://www.peninsulawarrior.com/news/health/traumatic-brain-injury-awareness-month-highlights-resources/article_413999c0-b922-11e4-8057-5b2ac451e93d.html

 Choose to Be Safe and Aware. 


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