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BIAA Statement on Congresswoman Giffords


The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) extends its sympathy to family members and friends who lost a loved one in the unspeakable tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., this weekend. Our thoughts are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others who are hospitalized.

Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, is an alteration in brain function or other evidence of brain pathology caused by an external force. About 1.7 million children and adults sustain a TBI in the U.S. each year; 10 percent of those injuries are the result of assaults. Although TBI is the leading cause of death for people ages 1-44, recovery is possible.

A gunshot to the head tends to create focal, rather than diffuse, brain injuries. Depending on the bullet’s penetration point and trajectory, the patient may experience physical, cognitive or behavioral impairments. Injuries to the left side of the brain, as is the case for Congresswoman Giffords, may cause decreased control over right-sided body movements; difficulties in speaking or understanding language, trouble with memory or sequencing or impaired logic; and depression or anxiety. Physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as cognitive rehabilitation and psychological counseling, will help Ms. Giffords restore as much brain function as possible and perhaps return to work and former social roles.  

BIAA offers a nationwide network of chartered state affiliates including the BIA of Arizona, that are readily available to provide support, information and resources regarding brain injury. A toll-free hotline is also available through our National Brain Injury Information Center (NBIIC) to those needing assistance at 1-800-444-6443.

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