Change Your Mind

March 20th, 2019 Posted by


Every nine seconds, someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. Estimates indicate that 5.3 million Americans live with brain injury-related disabilities.  This comes at a cost exceeding $82 billion annually.  The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in recognizing Brain Injury Awareness Month every March.  Change Your Mind is the theme for this year’s awareness campaign.

Types of Brain Injuries

There are two types of brain injury:  traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury. Both types can damage specific areas of the brain or cause a diffuse injury, which affects cells throughout the brain.  A person’s abilities and bodily functions may change when the brain is injured. In general, the more serious the injury, the more significant and permanent changes are likely to be. 

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is any injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.  More than 3.5 million children and adults sustain an ABI each year.  Typical causes of ABIs include electric shock, infectious disease, lightning strike, near drowning, oxygen deprivation, stroke, seizure disorder, substance abuse/overdose, toxic exposure, and tumor.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of ABI.  A TBI is caused by trauma to the brain from a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head can also cause a TBI because it can force the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. The stress from these rapid movements pull apart nerve fibers and cause damage to the brain tissue.  The leading causes of TBIs are falls, assaults, and motor vehicle accidents.  Although the number of those who sustain TBIs and do not seek treatment is unknown.

“People living with brain injuries want the same things we all want – a good job, someone to love, a comfortable home, and fun in their lives,” commented Susan H. Connors, President and CEO of the BIAA. “They want to be defined by who they are as people, not by their injuries.”