This month is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and today, March 16th, is National Brain Injury Awareness Day. Our friends at the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) are on Capitol Hill, advocating for increased civilian and military access to care, funding for state programs, expanded brain injury research, and raising congressional awareness of brain injury-related issues.
The co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force hosted a brain injury awareness fair with over 50 exhibitors, a congressional briefing, and a reception to celebrate the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Brain injuries have a great cost to society: they claim the lives of 137 people every day, and affect someone in the US every 13 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year in the US. According to Daniel Weinberger, MD, director and CEO of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, Neuroscience and Human Genetics, brain injury is the “leading cause of long-term disability in children and adults younger than 35 years, costing $75 billion a year.”
Despite these astounding rates of incidence, brain injury has gotten little recognition around the US until recently, and even now remains largely ignored outside of its role in American football. For example, few people seem to know the extent of the TBI problem in the military, but over 339,000 military service members have been diagnosed with a TBI since the year 2000. We at Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman would like to see the conversation broaden so that TBI can no longer be called a silent epidemic.
Most of the public discourse and scientific research to date has focused on the pathology and prevention of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Though these efforts are very important, there is also a great need for the development of new treatments for people who have suffered a TBI, not only through understanding the damage done to the brain but, more importantly, through learning how to improve function of the parts of the brain that remain undamaged.
We at the firm have put a big effort into raising awareness of TBI and concussions (which are a particular form of TBI) in Hawai‘i, so we are glad to see issue of traumatic brain injury under the national spotlight again. However, we still have more work ahead to increase the prevention and awareness of brain injury. The Galiher firm aims to: help individuals and families affected gain financial stability after sports-related brain injuries, and to protect the brains of our young athletes so that children can participate in sports without risking serious injury.