Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't Ignore That Bump to the Head - Brain Injury Awareness

I am all for good causes, so I note that March is National Women’s History Month (go, Amelia Earhart! ) and National Frozen Food Month (bring on the ice cream). But National Celery Month--not so much.

As March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, this is the time for "the talk." I  want you to know that brain injuries are more likely than you think, and many go undiagnosed until symptoms get increasingly severe.  

Aww, you think. What a downer! Yep, it is, but because brain injuries can happen “anytime, anywhere, anyone” I want to warn you.
We all know that car accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries (tbi). But did you know that for kids under 14, and adults over 65, falls cause 50% of all brain injuries. (source: Centers for Disease Control) While falls can’t entirely be prevented we know it’s only wise to wear helmets when exercising on anything with wheels. And we boomers can prevent falls with regular exercise, minding home safety, and getting adequate calcium. 

What we don’t realize is that sometimes what appears to be a minor injury, isn’t. A  neurosurgeon described the brain like jello, and if it gets jostled, it is easily damaged.  A new acquaintance recounted how her college age daughter had fallen from the upper bunk. Shortly after, the girl started having difficulties with balance, and keeping up with her classes. 

“Did she have a tbi?” I asked the mom.  
“Yes! How did you know?” She was eager to talk.

Having been through my own daughter’s injury I recognized the symptoms, and the isolation this mom felt. (more details in my two January blogs on “Regret”)  

Which brings me to my second point. If you are dealing with the results of a brain injury, FIND A SUPPORT GROUP! Talking with other parents that understood why I felt sad, frustrated and powerless helped me persevere through my child's recovery--and learn to cope with the deficits that might be irreversible.

So, play safely and don’t ignore any bumps to the head.  

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