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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; and
WHEREAS, the result may be temporary or permanent changes, causing a range of impairment in physical, cognitive, and emotional/behavioral functioning; and
WHEREAS, an estimated 2.8 million Americans, including 474,000 children, sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, including 795,000 who suffer a stroke; and
WHEREAS, as many as 5.3 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 266,000 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, more than 383,000 U.S. military service members nationally have been diagnosed with TBI in deployed and non-deployed settings, and 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 the community; and
WHEREAS, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing March as Brain Injury Awareness Month with the theme, “Change Your Mind” which focuses on changing misconceptions about the injury; educating the public on the incidence and prevalence of brain injury; and advocating for the needs of individuals who are injured and their family members; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services is the lead agency for brain injury services in the Commonwealth, and works in partnership with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services / Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program; the Virginia Department of Education; the Department of Health; the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, as well as a network of state-funded brain injury services programs;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize March 2020 as BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.