After my brain injury in 2006, my husband and I looked for answers on how to recover from a brain injury. There was not a lot of good information about TBI and treatment options. As we looked for answers, even among my medical providers, we realized that TBI treatment and recovery was a challenge.
I am hopeful, however, that things are changing since 1 out of 5 veterans returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with a brain injury, and since the NFL and hockey teams are being challenged by players who have experienced brain injuries. Because of them, we are seeing more TBI research and more awareness campaigns. The US military has FINALLY acknowledged TBI and PTSD as a problem among returning veterans. The sporting world is recognizing the dangers their players face when heads are injured. But even with this new attention and awareness, brain injury is way behind in research and funding. The TBI awareness campaigns just don’t get the attention compared with heart disease, breast cancer and other diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually.
- 52,000 die,
- 275,000 are hospitalized, and
- 1.365 million, nearly 80%, are treated and released from an emergency department.
- TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
- About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).
- Direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost productivity, totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 2000.
People still do not understand a brain injury until it happens to them or someone close to them. People often believe someone with a brain injury is faking it. Much more needs to be done for TBI. March is TBI awareness month but comes and goes with little notice by most. This needs to change.