Brain injury advocates say the effects of brain injuries are still too misunderstood by the public. A weekend conference in Indiana aims to educate people about how brain injuries can strike anyone at any time.
Around two million people sustain brain injuries each year in the U.S. but only around 1.7 million seek treatment. Brain Injury Association of America President Susan Connors says those who don’t try to get treatment are often unaware they’re in trouble.
“They just find that they are, perhaps, a little dazed, confused, maybe forgetful,” she says. “It’s not until their life spirals negatively that they say, ‘Oh, I need some medical attention here.’”
Dan Chamberlain is the chairman-elect of the Brain Injury Association of America and a board member of the Indiana chapter…the first state-chartered affiliate of the BIAA. He says Indiana is at the forefront of recognizing and treating brain injuries. The state has a network of 19 support groups and legislation passed last session by the General Assembly regulates concussion management for young athletes.
“When kids get injured playing soccer or football or whatever they’re doing, there’s now an analysis and a recognition that someone has been injured and a course of management to address those issues,” he says.
Chamberlain says the increased attention to brain injuries by the NFL and the military have helped jumpstart discussion about the severity of the problems.