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BIAA HOME : INDIANA : PREVENTION

Community Awareness & Prevention

Index

Brain Injury Can Be Prevented!

Traumatic brain injuries are more common than you think. More than 1.5 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries annually compared with 176,000 cases of breast cancer or 46,000 cases of HIV. In Indiana, there are approximately 150,000 people living with brain injury each day and that number continues to grow by 6,000 each year. Yet brain injury is still the silent epidemic.

We often think of the cause of brain injury to stem from an accident—a vehicle collision or a sporting accident—but that is only part of the story. A brain injury is an insult to the brain caused by an external force, which may impair cognitive, physical, behavioral, and emotional functions. It can result from a slip or fall, stroke, or tumor. But it is also the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan theatre; it is often the consequence of domestic violence. Essentially, it is an incident or impact that may last only seconds but can impact a lifetime.

Brain injury rehabilitation is a long process that is measured in years rather than months. Many persons with severe brain injuries face a wide range of lifelong problems. These problems, in turn, can dramatically affect an individual's ability to live independently, care for a family, and work.

Although medical research and treatment has helped with recovery—prevention is still the only known cure for brain injury.

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Community Resources

BIAI takes part in many community activities and initiatives throughout the year to increase awareness and understanding of brain injury prevention. These include:

  • Community Health Fairs
  • Trainings and Symposia
  • Education Campaigns
  • Speakers Bureau

If you or your organization is interested in a training or workshop on brain injury awareness and prevention, please contact us at 317-356-7722 or info@BIAI.org.

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Domestic Violence and Brain Injury

Domestic violence is a deliberate pattern of abusive tactics used by one partner in an intimate relationship to obtain and maintain power and control over the other.

How are Traumatic Brain Injury and Domestic Violence linked?
Although we don’t think about domestic violence and brain injury—the link is there. Research studies on the incidence of traumatic brain injury in domestic violence cases have revealed: greater than 90% of all injuries secondary to domestic violence occur to the head, neck or face region. (Monohan and O'Leary 1999). Unfortunately repeated brain injury is typical of ongoing domestic violence leading to increased thinking, physical and emotional dysfunction over time, with the most disabling problems in the thinking process.

How do Domestic Violence victims become Brain Injured?
For victims of domestic violence, physical assault and/or use of violence are the assumed major causes of traumatic brain injury. The following are some ways in which victims of domestic violence sustain a brain injury:

  • Blow to the head with any object
  • Pushed against a wall or other solid surface
  • Punched in the face or head
  • Strenuous shaking of the body
  • Falling and hitting your head
  • Being strangled
  • Near drowning
  • Being shot in the face or head

Also, lets not forget our littlest victims—infants. Shaken Baby Syndrome—also known as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) can be caused by direct blows to the head, dropping or throwing a child, or shaking a child. Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States. The average age of victims is between 3 and 8 months, although these injuries can be seen in children up to 5 years old. The perpetrators in these cases are most often parents or caregivers. Common triggers are frustration or stress when the child is crying.

If you—or if you know of others who are victims of domestic violence—call 911. Or if they need help and coaching, click here for domestic violence resources in Indiana. Please—don’t wait—you are not alone.

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Concussions

For the past two years, the Brain Injury Association of America has focused on concussion as the annual outreach and education theme for the association. Yet, concussion just does not happen to professional athletes—it can happen to all children and youth athletes and those who engage in physical activities from cycling to horseback riding to soccer and football. Help youth be prepared with proper equipment, information and attitude!

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has created the “Heads Up! Concussion Campaign” for youth parents, coaches and educators. Take the time to be informed so you can take action when needed.

You think you know the signs? Take the Concussion Quiz!

Resources

  • Heads Up Campaign at www.cdc.org for a wealth of resources, from concussion safety to fall prevention.
  • The National Safe Kids Campaign provides a great list tips for kids.
  • The Bike Helmet Safety Institute provides information on how to buy a helmet and other “FAQs”.

Other Resources

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Sports & Concussions

2011 Awareness Materials

2011 Print Public Service Announcements for Concussion

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Brain Injury and the Elderly

One in three Americans aged 65 and older suffer a fall each year. Statistics show that 30 percent of these falls require medical treatment. For elderly people, a fall can be much more traumatic and cause more severe injuries than for a younger person. Especially when an elderly person hits their head during a fall, the injuries can be massive because veins and arteries are easily torn.

In fact, brain injuries account for half of the deaths of elderly people who sustained falls. The others are due to a variety of causes including heart failure, strokes, infections and existing chronic conditions made worse by a broken hip or other injuries sustained in the fall.

10 Things You Can Do To Prevent Falls

  1. If possible, participate in regular, moderate exercise such as walking (check with your doctor!).
  2. Keep medications up-to-date. Go over prescriptions with your physician to watch for medications that can cause dizziness or loss of balance.
  3. Installed handrails for the bathroom, along stairways, and steps outside.
  4. Wear shoes with non-skid soles and low heels.
  5. Check furniture placement so that there is a clear path.
  6. Remove rugs or at least make sure they have non-skid backing.
  7. Thoroughly clean up all spills from floor and take special care after floors have been wet mopped.
  8. Provide adequate lighting for all areas including night lights for bedrooms and bathrooms.
  9. Provide support when walking, especially when stepping up curbs and uneven pavement.
  10. Be patient with yourself—don’t rush, take your time and be safe

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