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Brain Injury Awareness Month

Jennifer Fieten, MA, CCLS 

Did you know that there are more than 5.3 million individuals living in the United States with a permanent brain injury-related disability: roughly one in every 60 people (Brain Injury Association of America, 2022).

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Brain Injury Association of America (2022), the purpose of this month is to increase understanding of brain injury as a chronic condition, to showcase the diversity of injury and the demographics of the community, and to improve care and the support being provided for individuals with brain injury and their families. An additional element of this month is prevention; the prevention of traumatic brain injury (TBI) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). What is meant by traumatic brain injury? Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is “a form of nondegenerative acquired brain injury resulting from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head (or body) or a penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015).

Traumatic brain injury manifests differently in children than in adults. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (2022), TBI can cause brain damage that is focal (e.g., gunshot wound), diffuse (e.g., shaken baby syndrome), or both. Symptoms can vary depending on the site of the lesion, extent of damage to the brain, and the child's age or stage of development. The functional impact of TBI in children can be different than in adults—deficits may not be immediately apparent because the pediatric brain is still developing. It is important to note that TBI in children is a chronic disease process rather than a one-time event because symptoms may change and unfold over time (DePompei & Tyler, in press; Masel & DeWitt, 2010).

The role of child life specialists related to brain injury includes hospital and community-based prevention initiatives (bicycle helmet and car seat safety programs or concussion focused education programs, for example), ongoing psychosocial support for the hospitalized patient and family affected by TBI, and advocacy efforts to bring awareness to the needs and challenges faced by this patient population.

When providing support to those affected by brain injury, and when bringing awareness to the needs of this patient population, it is important to have resources available both to inform and to support; the following resources are extremely beneficial.


The American Speech Language Hearing Association’s ( website provides resources including research on this topic, signs and symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury, as well as statistics, available assessment and treatment options, and links to other available resources. This particular resource is unique in that it provides detailed descriptions of the classifications of traumatic brain injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website ( defines traumatic brain injury, provides statistics, in addition to identifying evidence-based prevention efforts. A benefit of this resource includes tools for health care providers to improve identification of patients at risk for a fall, as well as effective strategies to reduce the risk for fall-related injuries, including TBI.

Brainline ( offers resources specifically for children with TBI and their families. These resources include a resource for parents on raising a child that has sustained a brain injury and a resource to support teenagers with a TBI. Resources are also included for use by educators and those supporting those impacted.

The Brain Injury Association also offers resources to bring awareness to those with a TBI that can be utilized by our professional community. These opportunities are being shared from :

     -Engage creatively. Whether you want to share your story in writing, post to social
     media, explore your artistic side, or amplify the voices of others, there are many
     different paths to raising awareness of brain injury.

     -Get another perspective. Read about the personal experiences of members of the 
     brain injury community.

     -Know the facts. At least 3.6 million people in the U.S. sustain brain injury each year.

     -Speak out. Advocates with a personal investment in the cause make the greatest
     champions. Why not write a letter to the editor or try to get a PSA aired on your local
     radio station?

     -Mobilize. Join lawmakers, activists, survivors, caretakers, and other professionals.

     -Do more. Join supporters who are raising funds for brain injury services, support,
     and research all across the United States.


American Speech Language Hearing Association, (2022).

Brain Injury Association of America, (2022).

Brainline, (2020).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2020, March).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Report to Congress on traumatic brain injury in the United States: Epidemiology and rehabilitation. Atlanta, GA: Author.

DePompei, R., & Tyler, J. S. (in press). Children and adolescents: Practical strategies for school participation and transition. In M. J. Ashley (Ed.), Traumatic brain injury: Rehabilitation, treatment, and case management. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Masel, B., & DeWitt, D. (2010). TBI: A disease process, not an event. Journal of Neurotrauma, 27, 1529–1540.

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