March is Brain injury awareness month, and each brain injury is different. A brain injury is defined as any damage to the brain that affects a person physically, emotionally or behaviorally. They can happen at birth or later in life, caused by an illness or trauma. Based on the specific cause, they are considered either traumatic or non-traumatic.

Did you also know that, every nine seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a brain injury? In Michigan alone, 58,500 people will sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) annually, according to the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI). BIAMI does offer encouraging news, claiming recent scientific research on the brain has resulted in some promising diagnostic, pharmaceutical, rehabilitative and even preventive options. What this all means is that hope remains for brain injury survivors.

Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine asked local experts: What’s one thing they think the public should know about brain injuries?

“A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, however for most people there is no lasting effect,” said Kim Church, program director for Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation in East Lansing. “With appropriate rest and gradually resuming activity, most fully recover from initial symptoms. Those with more persistent symptoms may benefit from specialized brain injury rehabilitation.”

Tammy Hannah, executive director at Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center, agrees. “Brain injuries do not discriminate and can happen to anyone – they can range from mild concussions to severe, lifelong injuries,” said Hannah. “Seeking expert care … early on can significantly improve recovery and set you up for greater success.”

The experts concur that the best thing you can do for someone that you think may have suffered a brain injury is to seek out immediate care and follow through with the care plan. Brain injuries aren’t always physically visible or apparent, and they are often unique to the person injured. For more information, visit

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