Since head injuries are so common across the U.S. and the world, educating the public about this significant concern is essential — the purpose of Brain Injury Awareness Day, held annually on March 4. Brain injuries can lead to long-term changes for the affected person and their loved ones and present challenges to their everyday existence. Brain Injury Awareness Day is crucial and is part of a wider campaign observed in the same month as Brain Injury Awareness Week and Brain Injury Awareness Month.
History of Brain Injury Awareness Day
Head injuries have existed since the origin of man. Popular culture stereotypically depicts cavemen as wild beings clubbing each other over the heads, and fossilized remains reveal that broken skull bones were all-too-common in ancient times. Skulls with holes were discovered in early battleground graves, suggesting that surgery was attempted at that time to treat brain injuries.
Ancient Mesopotamians knew that head injury had serious side effects such as seizures, paralysis, and loss of sight, hearing, or speech. Ancient Greek physicians understood that injuries to the center of thought impaired normal brain functioning to an extent.
By the Middle Ages, physicians learned more about the symptoms of brain injuries, and the term ‘concussion’ — to describe a milder type of head trauma — was commonly used. An Italian physician named Jacopo Berengario da Carpi systematically listed the symptoms of concussion — the first-ever such description we can find.
The next few decades were marked by experimentation and discovery as the world tried to understand the brain and the effects of an injury. Both World Wars and the subsequent carnage led to unprecedented head injuries. As a result, more studies were conducted in this field than in previous years. World War I was partially responsible for developing a rehabilitation treatment to reduce the effects of brain injuries, something that caused high mortality before the war.
In the 1900s, brain injuries were recognized as a public health problem. This was a time of innovation and advancement in the treatment and management of this condition. Standardized guidelines to treat brain injuries were established, multiple drugs came into being, and survival rates vastly improved.
Today, the world is more aware of brain injuries, their causes, and how best to prevent them, but there is room to improve, which is why the U.S. observes Brain Injury Awareness Day.
Brain Injury Awareness Day timeline
On September 13, American railroad construction worker Phineas Gage suffers a brain injury and subsequent personality changes, leading to the world's first reported evidence that brain injuries can cause mental changes in people.
A national health organization dedicated to all things brain injury-related — prevention, advocacy, education, and research — is formed, and leads the U.S. in observing the Brain Injury Awareness Month and the Brain Injury Awareness Day.
Extensive research is conducted on the brain and brain injuries leading to major advances in this field and causing the 1990s to be dubbed as the 'Decade of the Brain.'
The World Health Organization (WHO) sets common global standards for surveillance of the central nervous system, allowing better classification and identification of brain injuries and related illnesses.
Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey co-founds a Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, which goes on to co-sponsor Brain Injury Awareness Day alongside the Bi-Partisan Policy Center and the Brain Injury Association of America.
Brain Injury Awareness Day FAQs
What color ribbon is for brain injury?
The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes blue as the color of brain injury awareness activities and green for all conditions labeled ‘traumatic brain injuries.’
What month is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness?
Traumatic Brain Injury awareness is held each March, with multiple activities and events being held within this month to draw attention to this cause and improve standards of living for those with this condition.
What are three types of brain injuries?
Brain injuries are classified into three types — mild, moderate, and severe. Milder injuries, called concussions, only briefly change the mental status or consciousness, while severe injuries could be life-threatening and lead to permanent brain damage or alterations.
How to Observe Brain Injury Awareness Day
Multiple states and cities organize special theme-based walks or runs to honor this day. Check if any are being held near you, and participate if you can.
Practice common safety measures
Simply using safety gadgets like helmets and seat belts can halve the chances of brain injuries in case an accident occurs. Minor instances of mindfulness like these can help you avoid brain injuries.
Educate others about brain injuries
Share your knowledge of brain injuries and what it's like for people living with them. Use online and offline resources to showcase the best ways that you can help those affected by brain injuries.
5 Important Facts About Brain Injuries
The number of people with brain injuries
At least 5% of the global population suffers a serious brain injury each year as the result of mishaps, accidents, or other causes.
Sports-related brain injuries
While 300,000 is the official yearly number according to general stats, most concussions come from football, lacrosse, and soccer according to the “Journal of Athletic Training.”
The importance of wearing a helmet
The part just behind the forehead — which controls memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities — is the most affected by brain injuries, making that helmet very crucial to reduce adverse effects.
The elderly are commonly affected
Experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state people above 75 are more susceptible to head injuries sustained during slips and falls.
Rehab is critical to treatment
Rehabilitation forms a crucial part of brain injury treatment and is unique to the individual and their head injury, coming in forms like physical or social support, occupational and speech therapy, and psychiatric care.
Why Brain Injury Awareness Day is Important
We understand this condition more
Increased awareness on this day helps us understand the complexities of brain injuries, making us better equipped to handle situations when we are exposed to this chronic condition.
It reduces stigmas associated with brain injuries
Awareness programs educate the public about traumatizing brain injuries and help alleviate negative social attitudes associated with them, leading to a better quality of life for those affected by this condition.
It provides better care and support
Brain Injury Awareness Day empowers everyone touched by the life-altering, sometimes debilitating brain injuries, helping them gain access to a solid support system.
Brain Injury Awareness Day dates