March: Brain Injury Awareness Month


 
 

JEMS Staff | | Tuesday, June 26, 2007


At least 5.3 million Americans currently live with disabilities related to traumatic brain injury (TBI), and approximately 1.4 million people in the United States sustain a TBI each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As part of Brain Injury Awareness Month, the CDC has distributed a list of facts and tips to help raise awareness and improve prevention measures.

Facts

  • A TBI is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.
  • Each year in the United States, an estimated 1.4 million people sustain a TBI. Of those individuals, approximately:

    o50,000 die;

    o235,000 are hospitalized; and

    o1.1 million are treated and released from emergency departments.

  • Falls are the leading cause of TBI, followed by motor vehicle-traffic crashes.
  • The two age groups at highest risk for TBI are 0 to 4 year olds and 15 to 19 year olds.
  • TBI rates are higher for males in almost every age group.
  • TBI-related hospitalizations are most often due to motor vehicle-traffic crashes.
  • An estimated 300,000 sports- and recreation-related brain injuries of mild to moderate severity occur in the United States each year.
  • At least 5.3 million Americans - 2% of the U.S. population - currently live with disabilities resulting from TBI.
  • Direct and indirect costs of TBI totaled an estimated $56.3 billion in the U.S. in 1995.

Prevention Tips

  • Wear a seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
  • Always buckle your child into a child safety seat, booster seat or seatbelt (according to the child's height, weight and age) in the car. Children should start using a booster seat when they grow out of their child safety seats (usually when they weigh about 40 lbs.). They should continue to ride in a booster seat until the lap/shoulder belts in the car fit properly, typically when they are 4'9" tall.
  • Ensure all children ages 12 years or younger ride in the back seat, the safest part of a vehicle in the event of a crash.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Wear a helmet and ensure that your children wear helmets while:

    oriding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter or all-terrain vehicle;

    oplaying a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey or boxing;

    ousing in-line skates or riding a skateboard;

    obatting and running bases in baseball or softball;

    oriding a horse; or

    oskiing or snowboarding.

  • Make living areas safer for seniors by:

    oremoving tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways;

    ousing non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors;

    ohaving grab bars put in next to the toilet and in the tub or shower;

    ohaving handrails put in on both sides of stairways; and

    oimproving lighting throughout the home.

  • For seniors, reduce your risk by having a health-care provider review your medications, have your vision checked and maintain a regular physical activity program to improve lower body strength and balance.

  • Make living areas safer for children by:

    oinstalling window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows; and

    ousing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.

  • Ensure the surface of your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.

JEMS has recognized the significance of these injuries for prehospital care providers, and has covered the topic in many research reviews and a recent feature article, "Combat Hypoxia: The Importance of Airway Management & Oxygenation of the Traumatic Brain Injury Patient," March 2003.

Other resources

Brain Injury Awareness Month materials

(from the Brain Injury Association of America's Web site)

http://www.biausa.org/Pages/biam2006.htm

MMWR article "Incidence Rates of Hospitalization Related to Traumatic Brain Injury-12 States, 2002"

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5508a2.htm

More CDC information on injury prevention

www.cdc.gov/injury




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