March 2021: Brain Injury Awareness Month

WHEREAS, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI) are leading causes of injury-related death and disability in the United States; and,


WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a TBI, and, as a result, 50,000 people die and 80,000 to 90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability; and,


WHEREAS, the total cost of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to TBI, either alone or in combination with other injuries, exceeds $76.5 billion annually in the United States, and the estimated medical and work costs of treating strokes exceed $53.9 billion annually; and,


WHEREAS, brain injuries may potentially affect cognitive, motor, and emotional functions and sensation; and,


WHEREAS, there were 1,756 TBI-related fatalities in Michigan in 2018, and nearly 74 percent of these were male; and,


WHEREAS, there were 26,565 emergency department out-patient visits for TBIs in 2018 in Michigan; and,


WHEREAS, falls are the leading cause of TBI (40 percent) in the United States and cause 55 percent of TBIs among children aged 0 to 14 years and 81 percent of TBIs among adults aged 65 and older; and,


WHEREAS, other leading and preventable causes of TBI include being struck by or against an object or person, motor vehicle crashes, substance misuse, and assaults such as shaken baby or abusive head trauma; and,


WHEREAS, observable signs of TBI may include, but are not limited to, appearing dazed or stunned, forgetting an instruction, moving clumsily, answering questions slowly, losing consciousness even briefly, showing mood, behavior, or personality changes, and being unable to recall events prior to and/or after an injury event; and,


WHEREAS, prevention strategies can greatly reduce the risk for TBIs and death, such as removing hazards in and around the home, keeping sports safe by following rules, using protective gear including helmets, using extra caution in inclement weather while walking and driving, driving unimpaired and without distraction, and always wearing a seat belt, among many others; and,


WHEREAS, TBIs are a largely preventable community health problem; and,


WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will continue to collect data to monitor incidents of traumatic and acquired brain injury and related deaths, work with partners like the Brain Injury Association of Michigan to raise awareness to support people with brain injuries and their families, and share information about injury prevention strategies;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 2021 as Brain Injury Awareness Month in Michigan.