September 22, 2017
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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Jamie Owens | BDN
Jamie Owens | BDN

Traumatic Brain Injury is a leading cause of injury-related death and disability in the U.S. TBI changes the way your brain normally works and is caused by an external force to the head. The most commonly reported causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle crashes, being struck by or against a moving or stationary object or person, and assaults. The severity of TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after an injury). Mild traumatic brain injury accounts for nearly 75 percent of all TBIs. Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because most concussion symptoms typically resolve in days to weeks, but all TBIs—mild, moderate, or severe—are serious injuries and have the potential for long-term consequences.
TBI statistics:
• In 2010, 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were related to TBI, either alone or in combination with other injuries.
• TBI-related ED visits for sports recreation-related injuries increased 62 percent from 153,375 in 2001 to 248,418 in 2009 among persons aged 19 or younger.
• The total cost of ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to TBIs, either alone or in combination with other injuries, exceeds $82 billion annually— this includes medical and work loss costs.

AMHC’s Center for Integrated Neuro-Rehab is a CARF accredited intensive outpatient program located in Caribou that is dedicated to exclusively treating traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Center is located in Caribou and its manager and Clinical Consultant, Pamela J. Searles, OTRL, CBIS, wants to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury. You should immediately contact a health care professional if you notice any of the following:
• Observable TBI Signs
o Appearing dazed or stunned
o Forgetting an instruction
o Moving clumsily
o Answering questions slowly
o Losing consciousness (even briefly)
o Showing mood, behavior, or personality changes
o Being unable to recall events prior to and/or after a hit or fall
• Symptoms Reported by Persons with TBI
o Headache or “pressure” in head
o Nausea or vomiting
o Balance problems or dizziness
o Double or blurry vision
o Sensitivity to light or noise
o Sensation of feeling sluggish
o Concentration or memory problems
o Confusion
o Not “feeling right” or “feeling down”
o Mood changes, such as irritability, sadness, nervousness, anxiety, or acting more emotional than normal
o Changes in sleep patterns
TBI is treatable and AMHC can help. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a TBI and is in need of treatment, please contact Ms. Searles at psearles@amhc.org or at 498-6431.