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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Change Your Mind About Brain Injury 

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.  Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a leading cause of injury-related death and disability in the U.S.  An acquired brain injury to the brain is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.  TBI changes the way your brain normally works and is caused by an external force to the head.  The reported causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle crashes, being struck by or against a moving or stationary object or person, substance use/overdose, stroke, seizure, oxygen deprivation, and assaults.  The severity of TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after an injury). Mild traumatic brain injury accounts for nearly 75 percent of all TBIs.  Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because most concussion symptoms typically resolve in days to weeks, but all TBIs—mild, moderate, or severe—are serious injuries and have the potential for long-term consequences.  

TBI statistics:

  • Every 9 seconds, someone in the US sustains a brain injury
  • The annual impact is significant:
    • More than 3.5 million children and adults sustain an acquired brain injury each year, but the total incidence is unknown
    • 2.2 million are treated for TBI in Emergency Department or Trauma Center
    • 280,000 are hospitalized
    • Every day, 137 people die in the US of a TBI-related injury—50,000 each year
  • At least 5.3 million Americans live with a TBI-related disability
  • TBI-related ED visits for sports recreation-related injuries increased 62 percent from 153,375 in 2001 to 248,418 in 2009 among persons aged 19 or younger.
  • The total cost of ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to TBIs, either alone or in combination with other injuries, exceeds $82 billion annually— this includes medical and work loss costs.

AMHC’s Center for Integrated Neuro-Rehab is a CARF accredited intensive outpatient program located in Caribou that is dedicated to exclusively treating traumatic brain injury (TBI).  The Center is located in Caribou and its manager and Clinical Consultant, Pamela J. Searles, OTRL, CBIS, wants to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury.  You should immediately contact a health care professional if you notice any of the following:

  • Observable TBI Signs
    • Appearing dazed or stunned
    • Forgetting an instruction
    • Moving clumsily
    • Answering questions slowly
    • Losing consciousness (even briefly)
    • Showing mood, behavior, or personality changes
    • Being unable to recall events prior to and/or after a hit or fall
  • Symptoms Reported by Persons with TBI
    • Headache or “pressure” in head
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Balance problems or dizziness
    • Double or blurry vision
    • Sensitivity to light or noise
    • Sensation of feeling sluggish
    • Concentration or memory problems
    • Confusion
    • Not “feeling right” or “feeling down”
    • Mood changes, such as irritability, sadness, nervousness, anxiety, or acting more emotional than normal
    • Changes in sleep patterns

TBI is treatable and AMHC can help.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a TBI and is in need of treatment, please contact Ms. Searles at or at 498-6431.