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Announcements: Brain Injury Awareness Month — March 2012

This year, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, CDC encourages parents, athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and school professionals to take action to reduce the risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) while participating in sports. An estimated 1.7 million TBI-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits occur in the United States each year (1). Most TBIs are concussions caused by the head hitting an object, a moving object striking the head, or by a sudden movement of the body causing the head to move violently. When the head moves violently, the brain bounces back and forth within the skull, damaging brain cells and occasionally causing unconsciousness.

Although most persons who sustain a TBI (including concussion) recover quickly and fully, some have symptoms for days or even weeks. In more serious cases, a person might have headaches, have trouble concentrating, be irritable, be unable to remember things, or have some other symptom of brain injury for months after the initial injury.

During the past decade, emergency department visits for sports and recreation–related TBIs (including concussions) increased 60% among children and adolescents. Bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer were the most common activities involved (2). This increase might be the result of a growing public awareness of the advisability of seeking medical attention when a suspected TBI occurs.

CDC is developing guidance for health-care professionals on the diagnosis and management of mild TBI in children. Information about how to prevent, recognize, and respond to concussions 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 29, 2012.
  2. CDC. Nonfatal traumatic brain injuries related to sports and recreation activities among persons aged ≤19 years—United States, 2001–2009. MMWR 2011;60:1337–42.

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