According to the United States Brain Injury Alliance, every year 1.7 million Americans will suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The effects of brain injuries can be serious and long-lasting: 5.3 million Americans are currently living with a disability as a consequence of a TBI.
Brain injuries can impair the people who sustain them in a variety ways. Personality, sleep patterns, memory, concentration, congitive abilities and other qualities might be affected, making it difficult or impossible to hold a job or perform daily activities. Unfortunately, people with brain injuries can be overlooked when thinking about disability and accessibility because the challenges they face are largely “invisible” to the public.
To bring attention to the issue, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has designated March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. Every year, BIAA and other organizations concerned with health, disabilities, and accessibility conduct an awareness campaign to inform the public about the incidence of brain injury and how it affects TBI survivors and their loved ones.
For the next three years, from 2018 to 2020, the theme of the BIAA’s campaign will be #ChangeYourMind. Individuals who want to help spread awareness can sign up with the BIAA to receive fact sheets and other materials.
In addition to the BIAA, other organizations are speaking out about brain injury. For example, more than 300,000 U.S. service members have sustained a TBI since 2000. The U.S. Department of Defense has announced its commitment to assisting health care providers and providing support for those who have sustained a TBI. Meanwhile, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has assembled a resource page of useful links for those interested in brain injury awareness, including websites for families, medical professionals, and military veterans.
The U.S. Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, which is co-chaired by U.S. Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL), has announced that Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill will be Tuesday, March 20. The event will include a brain injury awareness exposition, a congressional briefing, and a reception.
The Bureau of Internet Accessibility fully supports disability awareness initiatives, including Brain Injury Awareness Month, and we encourage readers to get involved in whatever ways best suit them: sharing your story, spreading the word on social media, writing letters to the editor, or hosting events and fundraisers. For more information on website accessibility for people with disabilities, including brain injuries, visit the BOIA blog to read the latest news and updates.