March is Brain Injury Awareness Month  

March 03, 2014
Brain Injury Awareness is recognized annually in March. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is estimated that there are 3,000 deaths each year among children and youth between the ages of 0 to 14. Estimates also include that there are 29,000 hospitalizations and 400,000 emergency department visits due to brain injury each year in the U.S.

Brain Injury can happen at any time and anywhere to anyone. In a blink of an eye, one’s life can change drastically.  It is estimated that more than 300,000 people in Nebraska have suffered a brain injury including concussions and more than 36,527 Nebraskans live with a disability caused by a traumatic brain injury.

A brain injury can essentially affect one’s life in multiple areas. These include but are not limited to cognitive skills, social skills, mental well-being, and physical development. When a member of a family sustains a brain injury, the whole family is affected. Family roles, responsibilities and routines may be interrupted and changed dramatically. When a student sustains a brain injury, there may a disruption or alteration of the student’s education. It is important for parents and teachers to work closely together to develop a plan that meets a student’s needs. Every brain injury is different. Brain injuries are classified as either mild (includes concussions), moderate, or severe. Following a concussion, there needs to be a period of both cognitive and physical rest. The amount of time needed between the injury and the commencement of return of activities will vary. Restrictions to activities may include limited or no screen time (TV, texting, and computer), limited or no homework, and no sports. It is best practice to have the students gradually return to activities. Activities should be allowed to increase over time and as long as the student’s symptoms decrease. Schools educators are encouraged to contact their local Brain Injury Regional School Support Team (BIRSST) for materials, training and consultative services to support students.

Nebraska will be holding its 8th Annual Brain Injury Conference on March 20 & 21, 2014, at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, Nebraska. For more information and registration visit the following website: http://www.biane.org/events/conference/confregistration.html

Where can you find additional information?

Central Region BIRSST contact: http://esu10.org/programs-services/special-education-services/birsst-central-region
www.biane.org
www.cdc.gov/concussion/signs_symptoms.html
http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/concussion/Pages/Home.aspx

-by Kristine Einspahr, School Psychologist