CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Oct. 17, 2001
Public awareness, prevention key to reducing brain injury occurrence
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Each year, more than 750,000 Americans report an injury
sustained while participating in recreational sports, with 82,000 of these
incidents involving a traumatic brain injury. There is no doubt that the past
12 months have been the "Year of the Scooter," and recent findings
on related injuries indicate an overwhelming need for increased prevention
measures because of the toy's popularity.
The Directorate for Economic Analysis, a division of the Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC), estimated scooter sales to total between two and
five million units for the year 2000 a dramatic increase from 1999's
figures of virtually none. With the hike in sales, so comes the rise in injury
and need for safety awareness.
The CPSC reports that from January 2000 through December 2000 there were
roughly 40,500 emergency room-treated injuries associated with scooters. Most
alarming is that the number of injuries is increasing dramatically. In just
the first four months of 2001, the CPSC estimated that there were more than
36,000 emergency room scooter-related visits.
Scooter-related injuries actually surpassed in-line skating injuries for
the first time ever in September 2000. About 85 percent of these injuries
were to children under 15 years old and one-third of injuries in 2000 involved
children age 8 and under. Two-thirds of all the scooter-related injuries were
to males. During the first four months of 2001, CPSC reported eight scooter-related
deaths, six of which were to children age 13 and under.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that proper helmet use while
riding scooters could reduce the risk of injury by 85 percent. Overall, the
use of helmets in all recreational activities prevent one death every day
and one injury every four minutes.
"The message is simple for both children and adults," said Katherine
Mathews, M.D., a pediatric neurologist in the Children's Hospital of Iowa
at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. "If it has wheels and handlebars,
wear a helmet."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that at least
1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury annually. Currently,
there are 5.3 million Americans living with a disability because of brain
injury and the cost to society is estimated at $48.3 billion annually. The
most common brain injury is a concussion and the CDC further estimates that
there are roughly 300,000 sports-related concussions in the United States
every year. Brain injuries cause more deaths than any other sports-related
injury and account for 65 to 85 percent of all fatalities in football.
In Iowa, 543 people died from traumatic brain injuries from 1995 to 1997.
The Brain Injury Association of Iowa reports that brain injuries are the leading
cause of death among Iowans between the ages 1 and 44. A traumatic brain injury
occurs in the state every four hours.
Each year, more Americans will experience brain injury than HIV/AIDS, breast
cancer, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury combined. Despite staggering
incidence rates, brain injury remains largely unseen by the American population
while awareness and prevention are key to lowering occurrence. Safety measures
are essential in preventing brain injuries.
Kenneth Follett, M.D., associate professor in the UI Department of Neurosurgery,
stated, "Concussion is commonly overlooked and its effects are often
underestimated. Even mild traumatic brain injury can have lifelong emotional,
physical and financial outcomes. As a society, we need to understand the importance
of prevention and awareness of all types of brain injury -- especially the
most common, concussion."
Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association has 47 chartered state affiliates
across the country with hundreds of local chapters and support groups. The
mission of the Brain Injury Association is to create a better future through
brain injury prevention, research, education and advocacy. For more information,
visit www.biausa.org or
call the Family HelpLine toll free at (800) 444-6443.
Locally, the Brain Injury Association of Iowa-East Central Family and Survivor
Support Group meets on the second Monday of every month at Zion Lutheran Church,
310 North Johnson St., in Iowa City from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information,
contact Lori Lindberg at (319) 356-1658.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit
UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.