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

By | March 7, 2017 | 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 anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament 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 bring awareness and understanding of brain injury. A brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. Brain injuries do not discriminate.

Joanne (I call her, Joey) celebrates the anniversary of her TBI each year. 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

  • An acquired brain injury (ABI) is any injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.
  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a subset of ABI and is caused by trauma to the brain from an external force.
  • More than 3.5 million children and adults sustain an acquired brain injury.
  • At least 2.5 million children and adults sustain TBIs in the U.S. each year.
  • Every 13 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a TBI.
  • One of every 60 people in the U.S. lives with a TBI-related disability.
  • Every day, 137 people in the U.S. die because of a TBI-related injury.

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 or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more information.

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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3 comments
SugarJones13
SugarJones13

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

themomiverse
themomiverse

@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.