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WHEREAS, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury that disrupts the brain's normal function, often resulting in a lifetime of physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges; and
WHEREAS, an estimated 2.5 million Americans, including 475,000 children, sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, including 795,000 who suffer a stroke; and
WHEREAS, as many as 8.5 million children and adults nationwide live with long-term disabilities due to traumatic brain injury and stroke; and
WHEREAS, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, an estimated 389,621 Virginians live with disabilities caused by TBI and stroke; and
WHEREAS, of the approximately 28,000 individuals in Virginia each year who sustain brain injuries including concussions, more than 7,000 are hospitalized, largely due to falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults, sporting-related injuries, or occupational injuries; and
WHEREAS, since 2000, 375,230 U.S. military service members worldwide have been diagnosed with TBIin deployed and non-deployed settings, and as a typical injury of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, TBI presents ongoing challenges for Virginia veterans and their families; and
WHEREAS, early, equal, and adequate access to care greatly increases the overall quality of life of Virginians with TBI, enabling them to return to home, school, work, and community; and
WHEREAS, the Brain Injury Association of America promotes March as Brain Injury Awareness Month with the theme, "Change Your Mind About Brain Injury,” which provides a platform for changing common misconceptions about the injury, educating the public on the incidence of brain injury, and advocating for the needs of individuals who are injured and their family members; and
WHEREAS, the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services is the lead agency for coordinating brain injury services in the Commonwealth, and provides services in partnership with the Department of Veterans Services and its Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Medical Assistance Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and a network of state-funded brain injury services programs, including the Brain Injury Association of Virginia;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize March 2018 as BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.