The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. They contribute to about 30 percent of injury-related deaths in the United States and they appear to be on the rise.
Between 2007 and 2013, rates of TBI-related visits to the emergency room rose by 47 percent. In 2012, an estimated 329,290 children were treated for sports-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI. Other children may suffer a TBI from a fall, traffic accident, or as a result of shaken baby syndrome.
TBIs in children are even more concerning than those in adults, because of how they may affect development. Both the Sara Jane Brain Foundation (SJBF) and the International Academy of Hope (iHOPE) are working to help prevent, identify, treat, and cure TBIs, and to provide needed services for children struggling to overcome or manage their injuries.
The Chaffin Luhana Foundation is proud to work with iHOPE in the past and again this year in their annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser. The Foundation encourages others to contribute to this worthy cause.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Any blow, jolt, or hit on the head that disrupts normal brain function is considered a TBI, though the results can range from mild to severe, depending on how traumatic the blow was, and how much brain function was affected. The most severe types can result in confusion, slurred speech, and even unconsciousness and coma.
A TBI that occurs in a newborn through 21 years old is considered a pediatric traumatic brain injury (PTBI). These types of injuries are typically viewed as chronic or ongoing, because the child’s development can cause symptoms to change or unfold over time.
For example, the child may have difficulty learning new things or negotiating more complex social interactions as he or she grows. They may also have short and long-term memory issues, have trouble understanding certain words, or have difficulty paying attention.
A concussion is just one form of TBI, and typically is a mild form of TBI. Even mild TBIs, though, can cause persistent symptoms. Because children’s brains are not yet fully developed, they are more vulnerable to the negative affects of the injury.
iHOPE Helps Children with PTBI
The SJBF is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 and dedicated to improving the treatment of PTBI. Their work brought about the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan), a seamless, standardized system of care universally available for all Americans with brain injury.
In 2013, they launched the iHOPE-Academy, the only school in New York City for students with brain injuries.
In 2016, they added on a clinical wing to the school called the iHOPE-Center, which made it possible to double student enrollment and offer services after hours and on weekends. Their goal is to eventually expand the school to other metropolitan areas of the country and around the world.
“There is no established leader in the educational landscape for children and youth with brain injury,” their website states, “and the International Academy of Hope is poised to step into this void….”
On Valentine’s Day, iHOPE is running their “Have-a-Heart” fundraiser and asking individuals to sponsor a $10 valentine for an iHOPE student. Each valentine will be displayed on the school’s “Hall of Hearts.” Participants can also share their stories on social media with the hashtag #HaveAHeart, and ask friends and family to sponsor a student valentine.
The Chaffin Luhana Foundation is proud to sponsor one student valentine on behalf of each of their team members, and asks you to consider participating too! Simply visit iHOPE’s website to donate today.
If you’d like to make a separate donation to iHope, you may do so via PayPal on their Donation page or via direct mail to the address below.
The International Academy of Hope
101 West 116th Street, Floor 2
New York, NY 10026