Advocates for the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are celebrating a victory with the passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014 by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) made the announcement last week, stating that it is an accomplishment several years in the making. According to an NBC News report, the passage of the Act will mean continued federal funding for prevention and education, as well as research and treatment initiatives.
Susan Connors is President and CEO of BIAA. She is included in the article as stating, “The passage of this reauthorization of the TBI Act means that research relating to children with brain injuries will gain more attention. TBI prevention and surveillance programs at CDC will continue, as will the state grant program and protection and advocacy grant program currently administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).” She also added her appreciation grassroots TBI organizations, “without whom this would not have been possible.”
Under the legislation, the following authorizations would occur:
***Renewal of existing TBI programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with funding through the 2019 fiscal year
***Granting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the authority to research brain injuries among children, locate new research options and provide findings to Congress
***Allocation to the National Institute for Health for programs supporting individuals who are living with TBIs
The Seriousness of Brain Injuries
According to the CDC, TBIs are a substantial cause of death within the United States. They are caused by a “bump, blow or jolt to the head.” An object penetrating the brain can also cause a TBI. These injuries can range from mild concussions to extended periods of unconsciousness, cognitive inabilities and amnesia. The CDC estimates that, in 2010, about 50,000 deaths involved TBIs. It is the diagnosis in hundreds of thousands hospitalizations each year and millions of ER visits.
The CDC lists the following incidents as the leading causes of TBIs:
***Falls are responsible for about 40% of all TBI occurrences
***Blunt traumas to the head result in about 15% of all incidents. This includes an object striking against the head of a victim
***Motor vehicle accidents reportedly account for 14% of all TBIs
***Assaults are responsible for about 11%.
***The remaining occurrences were caused by unknown or unidentified results
The Reauthorization bill is reportedly on its way to the desk of President Obama for a final signature. The original bill was passed under the presidency of Bill Clinton in 1996. It was reauthorized in 2000 and 2008 respectively. The BIAA is an advocacy group with the mission to “advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment and education.”
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