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Announcements: Brain Injury Awareness Month --- March 2011

This year, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, CDC encourages school professionals, coaches, parents, and athletes to learn the steps they can take to reduce the risk for concussion among youths participating in sports. An estimated 1.7 million traumatic brain injury (TBI)--related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits are expected to occur in the United States each year (1). Moreover, an estimated 135,000 sports- and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, are treated in U.S. emergency departments each year (2).

A concussion is a type of TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist inside the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. Many young athletes accept the risk for injury as one of the many challenges of participating in sports. Others might be unaware that even a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Although most athletes with a concussion recover quickly and fully, some will have symptoms that last for days, or even weeks. The effects of a more serious concussion can last for months or longer. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first (usually within a short period) can be very dangerous and can slow recovery or increase the chances for long-term problems. A repeat concussion can even be fatal.

To date, CDC has disseminated approximately 2 million educational items on concussion in sports through the Heads Up campaign. In addition, CDC has educated approximately 200,000 coaches through online trainings and videos during the past year. CDC's Heads Up to Schools: Know Your Concussion ABCs campaign also is helping strengthen awareness of concussion prevention, recognition, and response among school professionals. CDC's next steps include online training for health-care professionals, developing guidelines for pediatric mild TBIs, and creating online tools for teens and parents. Additional information about preventing, recognizing, and responding to concussions in sports is available at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion.

References

  1. CDC. Traumatic brain injury in the United States: emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths, 2002--2006. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2010. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/tbi_ed.html. Accessed February 22, 2011.
  2. CDC. Sports-related recurrent brain injuries---United States. MMWR 1997;46:224--7.

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