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For more than 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has conducted an effective public awareness campaign each March, leading the country in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month.

The theme of the campaign, #Change Your Mind, will continue through 2020. The effort provides a much-needed platform for educating the public about the incidence of brain injury and the unique needs of people stricken with these injuries.

BIAA says the goals of the campaign are three-fold:

  • De-stigmatizing brain injury through outreach
  • Empowering those who have survived brain injury and their caregivers
  • Promoting the many types of support that are available to people living with brain injury

Disturbing Brain Injury Statistics

According to the BIAA, every nine seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a brain injury. Each year an estimated 2.5 million children and adults in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) from non-traumatic causes.

TBIs can affect the functionality of the brain—including thinking, reasoning, and memory. Whether the victim is an adult, a child, or an infant, TBIs can have a life-changing impact on individuals and their families.

An ABI is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative or caused by birth trauma. This type of brain injury is one that has occurred after birth. The injury changes the brain’s neuronal activity, which affects the physical integrity, metabolic activity, or functional ability of nerve cells in the brain.

Traumatic and Non-Traumatic Injuries

There are two types of acquired brain injury: traumatic and non-traumatic.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) means there is an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries are defined as closed (or non-penetrating) or open (penetrating).

Causes of a TBI include:

  • Falls
  • Assaults
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Sports/Recreation Injuries
  • Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome)
  • Gunshot Wounds
  • Workplace Injuries
  • Child Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Military Actions (Blast Injury)

A non-traumatic brain injury is an alteration in brain function or pathology caused by an internal force.

Causes of a non-TBI include:

  • Stroke (Hemorrhage, Blood Clot)
  • Infectious Disease (Meningitis, Encephalitis)
  • Seizure
  • Electric Shock
  • Tumors
  • Toxic Exposure
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Neurotoxic Poisoning (Carbon Monoxide, Lead Exposure)
  • Lack of Oxygen (Drowning, Choking, Hypoxic/Anoxic Injury)
  • Drug Overdose

The BIAA recommends several things you can do to support the #ChangeYourMind campaign, including:  visit the campaign website, read and share your story(biausa.org/ChangeYourMind); connect and engage on social media; and distribute posters, flyers, and ads about the campaign, available to download for free on the website. For more information, visit the webpage or contact them toll-free at 1-800-444-6443.

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