What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability.

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from mild, i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to severe, i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. CDC concussion page.

Concussion Treatment vs. Concussion Management

The best known concussion treatment is rest. However, it can take from one to three weeks to fully recover from a concussion, and it is very important that the concussion is managed throughout the entire recovery process.

Concussion management involves creating a support system around the athlete. Adults at home, at school and on the field, need to change and modify the environment around the student athlete to maximize their concussion recovery.

For example, over three weeks, parents may need to limit the student athlete's social activities. Teachers need to cut back on the amount of schoolwork. Coaches and certified athletic trainers need to rest the student athlete on the sideline, and slowly, under medical supervision, pace the student athlete back into play or activity.

REAP Concussion Management

The REAP Project focuses on helping all adults and student athletes know and understand how to modify the environment throughout the concussion recovery—to prevent further injury, and to promote healing.

REAP stands for Reduce, Educate, Accommodate, Pace. It is a community-based concussion management program that works on the premise that concussion is best managed by a multidisciplinary team that includes:

  • the student athlete
  • family
  • various members of the school team
  • medical team

For more information visit the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s concussion program page.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Every year thousands of Americans experience a spinal cord injury. These injuries can be devastating, causing physical and emotional distress, as well as loss of wages. The following statistics give an overall picture of spinal cord injury in the United States. The top causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle crashes, falls, violence (gun shot wounds), and sport incidents. For more information, visit the Brain and Spinal Cord website.

ThinkFirst Denver Metro - Injury Prevention Program

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million persons in the United States sustain a brain injury, and 12,000 - 20,000 sustain a spinal cord injury. In fact, injury is the leading cause of death among children and teens. The most frequent causes of these injuries are motor vehicle crashes, violence, falls, sports and recreation. The good news is that most injuries are preventable! The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation's award-winning, evidence-based programs are aimed at helping people learn to reduce their risk for injury. Visit the national website for more information on the Think First website.

ThinkFirst was founded by America's neurosurgeons in an effort to decrease unintentional injury - the leading cause of childhood death and disability. HealthONE is a member of ThinkFirst Denver Metro and is proud to provide the following comprehensive educational services to youth in the Denver Metro area based upon the use your mind to protect your body message.

Programs Available Free of Charge

ThinkFirst for Kids

The goal of the program is to increase knowledge and awareness among children in grades 1-3 of the causes and risk factors of brain and spinal cord injury, injury prevention measures, and the use of safety habits.

ThinkFirst for Youth

The ThinkFirst For Youth program is for students in grades four through eight. This is an important time to help students learn the importance of protecting themselves, as they are increasingly faced with decision-making challenges involving their safety.

ThinkFirst for Teens

This upbeat program educates young people about personal vulnerability and risk taking. The message is that you can have a fun, exciting life, and you can do it without hurting yourself if you think first and use your mind to protect your body.