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March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

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This past weekend, maybe you noticed a number of people wearing the color green. Saint Patrick’s Day, right? Think again… it could be in support of Brain Injury Awareness Month.

That’s right; the month of March is when a number of organizations across the nation do their best to shed some light on the situation of more than 12 million Americans who are living with a brain injury. Most importantly, these individuals want to emphasize the word “living” when communicating their condition—because getting the most out of their lives, as independently as possible, is the primary focus of each and every day.

Part of the awareness campaign is to proudly show the color green, and many do this with silicone wristbands or a streak of green color in their hair. A prime example of such support involves the police department of Greensboro, North Carolina, which is encouraging all officers and support personnel to always show a bit of green while on duty—all in an effort to draw attention to the subject and get people discussing the issue.

 

It is estimated that 3.5 million people sustain a brain injury each year, and 137 people die each day in the U.S. from a brain-related injury. While there is some debate within the medical community, most agree that brain injuries fall into one of two categories. The two types are:

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) — A structural or physiological injury to the brain caused by external trauma to the head. Concussions are one of the more prevalent forms of TBI. Causes include: serious falls, traffic accidents, struck by or against an object, and assault.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) — An injury to the brain that is not related to a congenital defect or degenerative disease. Hypoxic brain injuries are a common form of ABI that occur when the brain suffers from a lack of oxygen. Causes include: illness, stroke, substance abuse, toxic exposure, and a brain tumor.

 

All experts do agree that it’s important to know the warning signs of brain injury, as prompt medical attention can often reduce the effects of the injury. You should also note that such symptoms could appear immediately after an event, days or weeks later or never at all—so always err on the side of caution.

Symptoms of a Possible Brain Injury

  • loss of consciousness
  • disoriented or confused
  • headache and nausea
  • dizziness or drowsiness
  • blurred vision or sensitivity to light
  • changes in the ability to smell
  • memory or concentration problems
  • mood swings or feelings of depression

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