What (and When) Is Brain Injury Awareness Month 2021?

Updated

For too long, brain injuries and their dangers have been widely misunderstood. Unlike some medical conditions, brain injuries can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic background. But despite their relative prevalence, many people don’t comprehend the scope of a brain injury until they or someone they love has been afflicted.

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Part of the mystery around brain injuries is due to the complexity of the brain itself. Scientists and medical professionals are still learning new things about this complicated organ. As they discover more, events like National Brain Injury Awareness Month empower everyday people by sharing their experiences and providing the latest information.

What Is National Brain Injury Awareness Month?

Acquired brain injuries refer to any kind of brain injury that has occurred after someone’s birth. They can have many possible causes, including trauma from an accident or fall or oxygen deprivation from drowning or a medical event.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2.8 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. More than 56,000 of those people will die as a result of their TBI.

The patients who survive can also be left with a wide array of long-term medical problems. Even if they don’t end up in a long-term vegetative state, they may have to deal with lingering side effects including memory loss, language difficulties, and mood swings.

National Brain Injury Awareness Month is an annual campaign organized by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA). Its intent is to increase awareness of this misunderstood and underfunded neurological condition.  

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What Month Is National Brain Injury Awareness Month?

For over three decades, the month of March has been designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month.

What Are the Colors, Hashtags, or Themes for Brain Injury Awareness Month?

The color blue has been associated with National Brain Injury Awareness Month since its inception. Many people will wear blue ribbons during the month of March. One year, a supporter donated green wristbands to the BIAA which were distributed. Now, the color green is frequently linked to traumatic brain injuries, while blue can signify brain injuries of any type.

The BIAA will often use hashtags as part of its awareness campaigns. The current campaign, which runs from 2021 through 2023, utilizes the hashtag #MoreThanMyBrainInjury.

What Can You Do to Participate in Brain Injury Awareness Month?

If you or a loved one has experienced a brain injury, it may be important to you to raise awareness or funds during National Brain Injury Awareness Month. Here are a few ways you can get the word out.

Wear blue or green

Incorporating a little bit of green or blue into your wardrobe each day of the month is a simple way to showcase your brain injury advocacy. The BIAA website sells a specially marked blue awareness pin that you can use on days when your green and blue clothes are in the wash. 

Make a social media post

Not sure where to start when it comes to discussing brain injuries. Start with your friends! You can use your social media platforms as a way to share your own story or boost the signal on someone else’s tale. The BIAA also offers graphics and posters you can display on various social media platforms.   

Hold a fundraiser 

Fundraisers can serve multiple purposes. Some fundraisers are intended to help a specific individual who had been affected by a brain injury. Others will benefit an organization like the BIAA who may use funds for research and awareness campaigns. 

There are many tried-and-true fundraising methods. Walk-a-thons or fun run events can collect funds through entry fees and sponsorships while also raising awareness. You can also stage a fundraising dinner with a silent auction of donated items.  

Connect with your state or local government

Many political leaders at the local and state levels are empowered to perform certain tasks. This includes making declarations that affirm March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month. Proclamations are often accompanied by a nice public ceremony that can further elevate your platform. 

Contact the local news media

Local news stations are always looking for local interest stories. Ones that are in support of a cause are often of specific interest. If you’ve organized a fundraiser, alert the press! Even if you haven’t, they may be up for doing a local profile of your story. 

Get a tattoo

Many people like to commemorate life-changing events in the form of tattoos. Many people will choose to include an overt symbol like a blue or green ribbon. Others will go with a more subtle thematic approach. As with all tattoos, the one you prefer is the best choice.

Provide employment opportunities for people with brain injuries

Many people can no longer perform the functions of their former career before their injury. But they can thrive in a different environment as long as that employer can accommodate their needs to a certain extent.

Many communities have nonprofit organizers that connect brain injury survivors with local businesses willing to work within the employee’s needs. Reach out to your local chapter today and find out how you can get involved.

Support the potential brain injury patient in your life

According to the CDC, the most likely age groups to sustain TBIs are young children, teenagers, and senior citizens. These TBIs are largely accounted for by sports and recreation-related injuries in young kids and teens and by falls in senior citizens. 

You can help keep your loved ones from becoming part of those statistics. First, make sure your kids and teens are wearing proper safety equipment like helmets whenever they engage in certain types of recreation.

Next, pay attention to your aging parents. If you see that they’re having trouble moving around, consider installing mobility aids or a hire home health care aide. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Support the existing brain injury patient in your life

Many brain injury patients suffer in silence with symptoms long past when you think they should be over it. Even so-called mild concussions can linger for months at a time. Certain people also develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). People who have suffered multiple head injuries are more prone to developing PCS, as are women and elderly people.

Pay attention to the people in your life who have sustained head injuries. Are they still engaged with the family, or do they seem moody and withdrawn? Is a formerly talkative person now avoiding conversations? They may be dealing with post-concussion syndrome and not even fully realize it themselves.

If it turns out your loved one is dealing with a lingering brain injury, be there to support them. Children who survive near-drownings often deal with lingering issues. Sending encouraging messages for sick kids helps them feel supported, and can engage them in language-oriented skills.  

Raising Awareness About an Often-Invisible Disability  

People are often unprepared for all the ways a brain injury can change their lives. Even if you don’t personally suffer from a brain injury, you may find yourself caring for a loved one who is. This can put you in all kinds of unprecedented situations, including having to make medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated.

National Brain Injury Awareness Month helps people understand more about the wide-ranging effects of this condition.     


Sources:

  1. “Effects of Brain Injury.” Headway.org.uk, Headway: The Brain Injury Association, 2021, www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/effects-of-brain-injury/
  2. “Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion.” Cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 March 2019, www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html.  
  3. “Brain Injury Awareness.” Biausa.org, Brain Injury Association of America, 2021, www.biausa.org/public-affairs/public-awareness/brain-injury-awareness

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