brain-injury

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March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the United States yearly. The Brain Injury Association of America defines traumatic brain injury (TBI) as an acquired brain injury that is “caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness.” The most common causes of TBI are motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports related injuries and violence. Each year 50,000 persons die from brain injuries and 80,000 to 90,000 people experience long term disability. The true extent of brain injury is not conveyed in the numbers. Lives, hopes, dreams, families and friendships are often altered in the wake of a brain injury. Unlike broken bones that mend or scraped skin that heals, the brain does not mend itself. It cannot grow new brain cells, called neurons, once they are damaged.   Because TBI cannot be cured, steps must be taken to prevent an injury from occurring.

TBI Prevention Methods Include:

  • Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Always wear a helmet when on a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, snowmobile or any other open unrestrained vehicle
  • Wear a helmet/have your children wear a helmet if participating in contact sports
  • Wear a helmet while skiing, snowboarding, skating or skateboarding
  • Fall Prevention Methods:
  • Use the rails on stairways
  • Provide adequate lighting, especially on stairs for people that have poor vision or difficulty walking
  • Place bars on the windows to prevent children from falling
  • Do not place obstacles in walking paths

Gun Safety:

  • Keep guns locked in a cabinet
  • Store guns unloaded
  • Store Ammunition apart from guns

As the Medical Director of the Physical Medicine and Sports Medicine Department at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, I have helped develop a concussion clinic that supports local athletes. The goal of the program is to prevent student athletes from suffering from long term consequences from the brain injury.

Learn more here: www.upmcpainmedicine.com

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