Wednesday, February 24, 2010

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month

Dear Readers,

With the recent tragic brain injury of pro snowboard Kevin Pearce, and the shocking death of Natasha Richardson last winter after a seemingly minor bump on the head skiing, I want to bring this information to light. If you spend time doing and around active sports, you see people get conked on the head plenty. It's no joke. Read this and be educated about traumatic brain injury (TBI) and know what to do if you suspect it.

and SnowboardSecrets.TV

Tips on Recognizing, Treating Brain Injuries During National Awareness Month in March

Spring break vacationers advised to exercise caution, plan ahead in case of medical emergencies

Alexandria, VAAs a reminder: March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. So, as Americans head off to sunny beaches, snowy ski resorts and other fun-filled destinations on their spring vacations, the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) advises them to use caution, to recognize the symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to check into supplemental insurance and potential access to medical facilities, particularly if traveling remotely or abroad.

“Air medical crews and emergency physicians see a lot of travel-related injuries at this time of year, especially among college students on spring break,” said AAMS President Daniel Hankins, MD, FACEP. “That is why AAMS is urging everyone to exercise caution, to wear a helmet when engaging in activities that involve the risk of head injury, and to know when to seek medical attention for a TBI.”

One such student is Brandon Lacko of Columbus, Ohio, who suffered a severe head injury while jet skiing off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and required medevac transport back to the States following his accident.

“The local hospital was not able to treat Brandon’s brain swelling and other severe injuries, so he had to be airlifted,” said his mother, Renae Lacko. “The air-medical crew and U.S. trauma center team saved his life.”

Swift medical attention for TBI is key, experts say, because while most patients — who number about 1.4 million every year — are treated and released, TBI is still a major cause of death and disability, with approximately 50,000 Americans dying from it annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The good news, though, is that TBI often can be successfully treated if caught in time. “That is why it is imperative to recognize the signs and symptoms,” said Dr. Hankins. “Repeated vomiting, severe headache, dilated pupils, sudden lethargy, trouble focusing or remembering and rapid deterioration after a period of lucidity – these are all possible indicators of a potentially serious brain injury, which demands immediate medical attention.”

In addition to promoting TBI awareness, AAMS offers the following spring-break travel safety tips:

- Plan for potential medical emergencies. Most medical insurance plans do not offer coverage abroad, so check into short-term travel insurance and a medical evacuation membership. Also, know the location and type of medical facilities near your travel destination, and get a MedicAlert bracelet for any potential health complications.
- Make duplicates of travel and medical documents. Leave photocopies of your passport, itinerary, medical information and credit cards at home. Don’t keep all IDs, money, credit cards and travel tickets in the same place.
- Do your homework. Register international travel with the State Department, at, and check
the CDC, at, for travelers’ health tips.
- Get adequate training before participating in potentially risky recreational activities, especially when renting equipment including skis, motor-bikes, boats or scuba gear. Also, use caution and obey the rules.
- Wear an ASTM-approved helmet when engaging in fast-action sports or recreational activities.


Protect your wrists and tailbone when snowboarding.

Sarka Pancochova and JR Celski interviews at SnowboardSecrets.TV.

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