March – Brain Injury Awareness Month


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body or a penetrating head injury, that disrupts the normal function of the brain.  A concussion is the most commonly diagnosed form of brain injury.  Kayt Zundel, Think First Program Director reminds us that “All brain injuries should be taken seriously. If a brain injury is suspected it is important to get it checked out by  a medical practitioner.”

child bike

In 2009, an estimated 248,418 children (ages 10 or younger) were treated in U.S. emergency departments (ED) for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI. From 2001 to 2009, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, rose 57% among children (ages 19 or younger).


What are the leading causes of TBI for children and youth?

  • More than half (55%) of TBIs among children 0 to 14 years were caused by falls.
  • Close to a quarter (24%) of all TBIs in children less than 15 years of age were related to blunt trauma.  Unintentional blunt trauma is the result of being hit by an object.


Dr. Neuwelt- a leading neurosurgeon  at OHSU reminds us that “It is important to know that brain injuries are preventable”.

  • Ensure that children and youth follow their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
  • Encourage children and youth to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity. Protective equipment should fit properly and be well maintained.
  • Wearing a helmet is a must to reduce the risk of a serious brain injury or skull fracture.
  • Remember, helmets are not designed to prevent concussions. There is no “concussion-proof” helmet. So, even with a helmet, it is important for kids and teens to avoid hits to the head.


Brian Injury Alliance of Oregon – Their mission is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, education, research, and support.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC’s research and programs work to prevent TBIs and to help people recognize, respond and recover if a TBI occurs.

CDC’s Heads Up – Whether you are a parent, youth sports coach, high school coach, school professional, or health care provider, this site will help you recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or other serious brain injury.

Center on Brain Injury Research and Training – CBIRT conducts research and training to improve the lives of children and adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI).   Host the Oregon Concussion Awareness and Management Program (OCAMP).  OCAMP maintains the Oregon Concussion Law Implementation Guide for School Districts and Youth Sports Organizations.

ThinkFirst-Oregon  located at OHSU, is part of a national non-profit organization, working with teachers, educators and community groups to reduce the risk of brain and spinal cord injury through community education, policy change, and outreach.



Safe Kids Oregon works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States.  Safe Kids Oregon is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury.  Safe Kids Oregon was founded in 1995 and is led by Oregon Public Health.  Click here for information on other Injury Areas.