Brain injury awareness: It can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone

By | March 3, 2015 | Health & Wellness

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Brain Injury Awareness Month | The Momiverse

On April 15, 2007, Joanne was out for a morning jog in downtown Denver. While she was on the sidewalk, she was hit by a car going 35 miles per hour. She was thrown eight feet in the air. The accident cracked her skull and she sustained a severe brain injury (subdural and epidural hematoma). She also broke her neck, back, left leg, and shattered the bones in her eye orbit, and nose, and tore her ACL, PCL and MCL in her right knee. She had to be resuscitated three times and was in a coma for two weeks. She was never expected to make it, but she did.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and in honor of my dear friend Joanne, we’re sharing this information with you to help you understand Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). A brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. Brain injuries do not discriminate.

Joanne (I call her, Joey) will soon celebrate the 8-year anniversary of her TBI. Yes, it is a celebration – a new birthday, if you will, because we are so blessed that she’s alive. At first glance, you’ll agree that it’s a miracle that Joey can walk, talk, and look like any other “normal” human being considering the extent of her injuries. She’s blonde, gorgeous, fit, and one of the hardest working people I know. This former Jersey girl has a successful career and is one of the most generous people on the planet. Only a very small group of friends have been with Joey on her TBI journey and know of the difficulties she continues to face on a regular basis. She’s worked so hard on her remarkable recovery the last several years, but she still has a long road ahead of her.

Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two brain injuries are exactly alike. For some, brain injury is the start of a lifelong disease process. Here are a few facts about brain injury:

Incidence of brain injury

  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a blow, jolt or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.
  • 2.4 million people, including 475,000 children, sustain a TBI in the U.S. each year. 5.3 million individuals live with life-long disability as a result ofTBI.
  • 52,000 people will die. 275,000 people will be hospitalized. 1.365 million people will be treated and released from an emergency department.
  • TBis are caused by caused by falls (35%); car crashes (17%), workplace accidents (16%), assaults (10%), and other causes (21%).
  • TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
  • About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two brain injuries are exactly alike. For some, brain injury is the start of a lifelong disease process. The injury requires access to a full continuum of medically necessary treatment and community-based supports furnished by interdisciplinary teams of qualified and specialized clinicians working in accredited programs and appropriate settings.

Cost of brain injury care

  • Average hospital-based acute rehab is about $8,000 per day
  • Range for post-acute residential is about $850 to $2,500 per day
  • Day treatment programs (e.g., 4 hours of therapy) are about $600 to $1,000 with no room/board
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost
  • productivity, totaled an estimated $76.3 billion each year.

Source:   Brain Injury Association of America

We honor Joey and the millions of people with brain injury, who with proper acute care, therapeutic rehabilitation and adequate long-term supports, are living with the successes and challenges that each day brings. We join the Brain Injury Association of America in their mission to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment and education and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury.

Please visit Brain Injury Association of

America online or on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more information.

Brain Injury Awareness | The Momiverse

Has a brain injury impacted your life or the life of someone you know? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

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Charmin Calamaris

Charmin is a wife, mom of two boys and creator of the Momiverse. The Momiverse is an online magazine for busy moms (is there any other kind?) dedicated to helping moms make time – and take time – for themselves. She traded in her career in land use planning and environmental policy to become Chief Executive Navigator of the Momiverse. You can connect with Charmin in her "online office" on Twitter or Facebook.

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Wow! So amazing that she recovered and is leading a normal life. Awesome!


@SugarJones13 It truly is a miracle that she's alive. Because I'm a close friend of Joey's, I can see what appears "normal" to most people (she can walk, talk, work, drive, etc.) is part of the problem with brain injuries. Frequently, Joey has to deal with imbalances in her brain chemistry and since her accident, she has been unable to taste or smell. Can you imagine not smelling a freshly cut lawn or cookies baking, or tasting any of your food? And while she has made tremendous strides in her recovery, she still has weekly therapy appointments to deal with all her injuries and scar tissue - and this was 8 years ago!

But I agree...It's an amazing story. I'm grateful she's with us today.