A National campaign “Blackout for Brain Injury” has been launched by Brain Injury New Zealand (BINZ) to mark Brain Injury Awareness Week, starting 19 March.
Press Release: Brain Injury New Zealand 16 March 2108
Every 15 minutes a New Zealander will sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and while it doesn’t discriminate, it is the leading cause of long term disability for children and adults under the age of 35.
TBI can be life changing, not only for the individual but for their families. It is often an “invisible injury” which only makes it tougher for people to deal with, and is not helped by the “stigma’ and lack of understanding that surrounds TBI.
With the present media attention on concussion in sport, many would presume that sport related activity is the leading cause but the majority of brain injuries in New Zealand are caused by falls, be it in the home, school playground, and workplace or in the community.
Often TBI can go unrecognised for a period of time with 28% not seeking immediate medical attention, and even those who do initially attend for treatment will often self-discharge, which can add to the severity of the injury and hinder the recovery process.
Brett Morris, President of Brain Injury NZ, admits to being one of those who self-discharged following a bad concussion, “I am not proud of the fact and I paid the price by ending up having to take a year off University suffering with post-concussion syndrome. I hope that the Blackout for Brain Injury campaign becomes a catalyst to both educate and increase awareness about TBI”.
Many sporting bodies are taking the lead in educating people on how to deal with TBI but it is an important message that needs to be taught in schools and the workplace.
The impact of TBI is felt throughout the community and whilst ACC paid out nearly $89 million on TBI claims last year, this does not accurately reflect the true cost which was estimated in 2010 at between $219 to 250 million in associated health costs for the taxpayer and government to bear.
With 14 regional associations across the country, Brain Injury New Zealand provides support for the brain injured and their families/ whanau in and “navigating” through the days and sometimes years following a TBI. The families are often the silent sufferers as the person injured may not have any perception of the problems they are experiencing or the impact on their family. They also take on the responsibility for ongoing care while coping with the physical and emotional stress. BINZ provides strategies for carers and an ongoing support system.
BINZ is encouraging New Zealanders to get behind the “Blackout for Brain Injury” campaign and show their support for those impacted by brain injury.
Keep an eye out for news from your regional Brain Injury Association about the fundraising activities they are running in your local area. They will be running appeal days with many promoting a day for people to demonstrate their support by dressing in black.
You can find information at brain-injury.org.nz about your local Brain Injury Association.
For further information contact Brett Morris – President Brain Injury NZ
0223272698 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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