New York State Department of Health Recoginizes March As Brain Injury Awareness Month

More Than 5.3 Million Individuals in the United States Live with a Permanent Brain Injury-Related Disability

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 2, 2023) – As March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, the New York State Department of Health is informing the public on the causes, treatment, and needs of New Yorkers living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families, as well as ways to prevent TBI from happening.

"Awareness is important so we can take steps to prevent traumatic brain injuries. TBI can alter a person's personality and behavior, yet by being aware of TBI's warning signs, symptoms, and underlying causes we can help prevent them," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Brain Injury Awareness Month offers an opportunity to talk about the various causes of brain injuries, strive toward prevention, and lessen the stigma attached to them."

TBI is an injury to the brain or skull caused by an external force, such as a strike or impact. Brain injuries are often permanent and disabling, unlike other injuries, such as broken legs or cuts that can heal. A common contributing factor is alcohol.

The risk of sustaining a TBI is:

  • Greatest for young children, young adults and the elderly.
  • Greater for males than females. Males are almost twice as likely to be hospitalized with a TBI.
  • Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst, from the Office of Aging and Long-Term Care said, "We need to inform the public about the signs and symptoms of concussion and traumatic brain injury. This is a great opportunity to promote brain injury prevention and improve the quality of life for people, families and caregivers. Brain injury is not just one symptom, but many physical and cognitive challenges that require patience and compassion from all of us."

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of TBI continue to be falls, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, and unintentional blunt trauma. For teenagers and those aged 15 to 44, traffic accidents are the main reason for hospitalization. Additional factors for this age group include assaults, sports-related accidents, and military injuries sustained during combat.

    After an injury, a person might have to relearn how to dress, take a bath, eat, walk, talk, and other daily tasks. In addition to educational and vocational objectives, post-acute rehabilitation may concentrate on cognitive, emotional, and behavioral difficulties, as well as compensatory techniques to aid with reintegration and independent living.

    Nearly 157 incidents of traumatic brain injury occur daily in New York State, resulting in death or hospital treatment. Each year, TBIs result in more than 2,200 deaths, 17,000 hospitalizations, and almost 38,000 emergency department visits among New York State residents.

    Every day, 166 people lose their lives as a result of TBI. Every year, there are more than 2.5 million Americans with brain injuries. In the United States, there are more than 5.3 million people – 1 in every 60 people – who have a permanent disability brought on by a brain injury.

    To further raise awareness and educate New Yorkers, the Department works closely with advocates, health care providers, and other federal and state agencies, including Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, the CDC, and National Association of State Health Injury Administrators.

    For more information about brain injury visit the Department of Health's website here.