Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, affect the lives of Americans nationwide. Anyone can experience a TBI, but data shows that children and older adults (ages 65 and older) are at greater risk. Many TBIs, including concussions, are preventable, and you can help.
Change your mind about brain injury
Brain Injury Awareness Month is recognized each year in March. During this time, CDC focuses on helping to increase the knowledge and understanding of brain injuries. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” to “severe,” and can change the way you think, act, move, and feel. Falls account for almost half (47 percent) of all TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Other common causes include being struck by or against an object (such as colliding with another person) and motor vehicle crashes.
Parents have an important role in protecting their children from TBIs and can learn what can cause brain injuries and how to avoid them and practice better brain safety. Public health professionals can also help inform prevention strategies and identify research and education priorities to protect people from TBIs and their potentially devastating effects.
TBI in children
The CDC recently released a Report to Congress on the Management of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children. This report reviews the burden of TBI in children, identifies gaps in our current systems of care, and presents recommendations for improving the outcomes of children who have experienced brain injuries. The report encourages parents, healthcare providers, and school professionals to better recognize TBIs, monitor the recovery process, care for, and support children after a TBI in a coordinated way. CDC’s HEADS UP initiative has information about how to recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or other serious brain injury.
TBI in older adult
Falls are the leading cause of all TBIs, and adults aged 75 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death. CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries, or STEADI initiative, is a toolkit designed to help healthcare providers incorporate fall risk assessment and individualized fall prevention interventions — such as strength and balance exercises, and medication management — in their practices. Fall prevention brochures and resources for older adults and their caregivers are available here.
YOU can make the difference
You can make the difference in keeping your brain safe and in keeping your children and older adults in your life safe as well. Every day, 153 Americans die from TBI-related injuries. Even those who survive can face lasting effects and disabilities. Get informed and talk about brain safety with others in your family and your community.
(A Wellness Update is a magazine devoted to up-to-the minute information on health issues from physicians, major hospitals and clinics, universities and health care agencies across the U.S. Online at www.awellnessupdate.com.)