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Altered Lives

Traumatic brain injury in the United States

March was Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month.  Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a pernicious, devastating condition altering the lives of people who suffer it—and those who love them.

An acquired brain injury, TBI is caused by force to the skull and delicate brain tissue within.  Sports injury, car accident, sudden fall or impact—a moment of force changes life forever.

On March 19, 2012, Dr. Mark Ashley, Chairman Emeritus of the Brain Injury Association of America spoke before the Subcommittee on Health Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Before the committee, Dr. Ashley reported on the prevalence of TBI and continuum of care associated with TBI.  Points from his remarks include the following:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report between 1.6 and 3.2 million concussions are suffered each year.  To compare, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports 1.4 million cases of cancer of all types are diagnosed each year.
  • Annual occurrence of TBI has increased—not including recent military injury and death.  Children and seniors are at greatest risk. Of those injured, approximately 52,000 will die and 275,000 are hospitalized.
  • Brain injury is unpredictable and causes continuing neurological, respiratory, immune, and other disorders.  Inadequate treatment results in higher levels of dysfunction, impoverishment, and reliance on social maintenance programs.

Care needed for TBI varies with the individual who suffered it.  If injured through the negligence of another, compensation from a personal injury action provides care and rehabilitation needed to address an altered life.

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