Thursday, March 19, 2009

Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. I wrote briefly about it a couple of weeks ago, but I feel compelled to mention it again in light of the very sad news of Natasha Richardson's passing due to a traumatic brain injury.

Ms. Richardson's tragic accident occurred on the ski slopes of Canada after what has been reported to be a simple fall. Just a day earlier I cringed while watching an episode of a reality show on TLC in which the father proudly bragged of his 8-year-old daughter's ability to ski downhill through a wooded area. The child in question had skied before, but was certainly still a beginner. Some high-profile experienced skiers who died after colliding with trees immediately came to mind, first and foremost Sonny Bono and a member of the Kennedy clan, Michael Kennedy. Their deaths 11 years ago, within weeks of one another, brought a brief spate of media attention directed towards skiing safety. After thinking about injuries that occur on ski slopes, it occurred to me that on the two occasions I was a chaparone on ski trips to Ruidoso, New Mexico, helmets were not required, and no one in our groups wore them (and fortunately, no one suffered any kind of injury whatsoever).

Sometimes it's incomprehensible how one can survive a dramatic accident relatively unscathed, while another succumbs to devastating injuries sustained almost inexplicably. Natasha Richardson reflected on lessons learned from her husband's serious motorcycle accident in a 2003 interview with the British Daily Telegraph newspaper, "I wake up every morning feeling lucky — which is driven by fear, no doubt, since I know it could all go away."

My heart goes out to Natasha Richardson's husband, young sons, and extended family--and other families who are currently suffering the loss of a loved one due to traumatic brain injury

For more about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) . . .

The theme of this year's brain injury awareness month campaign, sponsored by the Brain Injury Association USA, is youth sports and concussion. The CDC offers a free kit, Concussion In Youth Sports--A Kit for Coaches, available upon request, but also available via down from their site. The CDC also offers other free brochures and publications about traumatic brain injury.

A few additional selected readings:

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