St. Croix Tribal Health and Human Services has issued the following news release relating to Brain Injury Prevention.


News Release

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Observed each March, Brain Injury Awareness Month was established 30 years ago to educate the public about the incidence of brain injury, prevention measures, and the needs of person living with a brain injury and their families/caregivers.

Brain Injury Facts

  • Every 9 seconds, someone sustains a Brain Injury.
  • More than 795,000 people have a Stroke each year.
  • 1 of every 60 people in the U.S. Lives with a Brain Injury Related Disability.
  • Every day, 137 people Die due to Traumatic Brain Injury.

Brain Injury (BI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Concussion

A brain injury is an injury to the brain that occurs after birth. Some examples of Brain Injury (BI) include: stroke, oxygen deprivation, substance abuse/overdose including alcohol, exposure to toxic substances, and trauma.

A brain injury may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness and can result in impairment of cognitive abilities and/or physical functioning.

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an insult to the brain caused by an external physical force.  Examples include a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, a penetrating head injury, a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a physical assault, a sports-related injury, or as a result of an explosions/blast.

(TBI) can lead to short or long-term changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotion. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.

The impairments from BI or TBI may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or total functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.

The most common type of TBI is a concussion and is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement to the head that disrupts the function of the brain.

The severity of a concussion may range from “mild”, a brief change in mental status or consciousness, to “severe”, and an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. All concussions are serious even though many do not result in loss of consciousness.

What You Need To Know About Concussions

Most people with a concussion fully recover, however not all.

Some, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer.  In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens.

Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at increased risk of having another one. Some people may also find that it takes longer to recover from each additional concussion.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Concussions

When To Seek Additional Medical Attention

In rare cases, a person with a concussion may form a dangerous blood clot that crowds the brain against the skull.

Danger Signs in Adults

Contact your health care professional or emergency department right away if you experience any of these danger signs after a head injury:

  • Headache that does not go away and actually gets worse.
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated nausea or vomiting.
  • Slurred speech.

Danger Signs in Children

  • Have any of the Adult Danger signs listed above.
  • Will not stop crying and are inconsolable.
  • Will not nurse or eat.

If you are checking on a person who has experienced a head Injury and they are displaying 1 or more of the following,

Take Them to the Emergency Room Immediately

  • They look very drowsy or you cannot wake them up.
  • One pupil (the middle of the eye that is black) is larger than the other.
  • They are having convulsions or seizures.
  • They do not recognize people or places.
  • They are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
  • They are displaying behavior that is unusual for them.
  • They lose consciousness.

Brain Injury Prevention

You can reduce your chances of getting a brain injury by taking the following precautions:

  • Wear a seat belt every time you are in a vehicle.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never ride with someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Wear a helmet or appropriate headgear when: riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, ATV/side by side. Playing contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing. Skating or skateboard, bating or running the bases, riding a horse or skiing/ snowboarding.
  • Reduce your Falls Risk by doing the following: Completing a Falls Risk Assessment, Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy.
  • If you need glasses Wear them, have your eyes checked yearly and update your eyeglasses as needed.
  • Do exercises to strengthen your legs and improve your balance.
  • Make your home safer by keeping stairs clear, remove throw rugs and Install good lighting.
  • Make living and play areas safer for children. Install window guards to keep young children from falling out of open/screen windows. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Make sure play areas have soft material such as mats, mulch or sand.

Resources

Of all the challenges faced by families that include a person with brain injury, meeting the demands of becoming a caregiver may be among the most difficult.

Assessing and understanding new or expanded responsibilities resulting from a loved one’s brain injury can be overwhelming.

The following resources may help you in understanding what is happening to you if you have experienced a Brain Injury or to assist you in understanding your loved ones behavior and what your role as a caregiver really means.

Available Services and Local Resources:

  • Medical Providers Physical Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech Therapist
  • St. Croix Tribal Health and Human Services
  • St. Croix Aging Unit
  • Your Spiritual Advisor
  • Family/Friends
  • Local Aging and Disability Resource Center:
  • Local Family and Caregivers Support Groups

Resources used in this article: www.cdc.gov, www.biausa.org


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