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21Mar/12Off

National Brain Injury Awareness Day 2012

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March 21, 2012 is the National Brain Injury Awareness Day for the United States of America. Today is meant to raise awareness about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), talk about the prevention of TBI, and celebrate the lives of those living with TBI. The study of TBI did not become prevalent in the medical community until after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought TBI closer to the front of the line in medical research. Although there are still a lot of stereo types about head injuries that are damaging.

First let's address awareness, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "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." This means that anytime something impacts your head and you lose the normal function of your brain, you have suffered a TBI. Now to the good news, according to the CDC "not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in  mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of  unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur  each year are concussions  or other forms of mild TBI."

So what have we learned from the CDC? We have learned that anything that caused you to lose normal brain function is a TBI. But not every time you impact your head do you sustain a TBI. Most people have hit their head, but have not hit their head hard enough to lose normal brain function. We have also learned that a majority of TBI related injuries are mild and have no long term consequences. Only in some cases are TBIs considered severe and have long term consequences.

Now let us move on to prevent the easiest of today's topics. Some brain injuries cannot be prevented unfortunately. For example:  the soldier who is injured in war serving his country, the person injured in a car wreck, or a person who trips and falls. Yet, too many TBIs can be prevent with just a little bit of forethought and effort. A simple bicycle helmet will help prevent a TBI, but a majority of parents do not buy or require their children to wear a helmet. In soccer, a padded helmet will help prevent a TBI for children and youth. Yet the US Youth Soccer Organization does not want to make soccer look like to violent of a sport. A motorcycle helmet will help prevent a TBI or save your life, but too often people say, "I want to feel the wind in my hair."

I do not think that people truly understand the consequences of what they are doing. All it takes is one split second to change your life and the life of the people around you, forever. But of course too many people have to learn from their own mistakes. Well, this is one mistakes that you cannot learn from because if you mess up your brain there is no getting it back. The brain does not heal like a broken arm or torn ligament. Once you have damaged a part of the brain, that part of the brain is damaged forever. Then all you can do is tell other people and hope that they will listen to you.

And finally to celebrate the lives of people who are SURVIVORS!! We have all meet people in our lives that have a TBI. The key is whether or not you noticed that person or not, whether you could tell if that person even had a TBI. Most of the scars of a TBI are hidden to the rest of the world. Today we celebrate you, Survivors. Do not be ashamed for the way your are, be proud of who you are. Never feel like you are alone, because you are not. There is always someone out there that is going through what you are. I know what I am talking about, because I am one of them. I am a SURVIVOR!

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards

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