March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

TOLEDO, Ohio (March 16, 2018) -- With eight weeks off between the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona and the Music City 200 at Nashville, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams, officials and sponsors all have the chance to regroup and prepare for what is going to be a busy season, the 66th consecutive for ARCA.

During this break, plans and preparations are underway by the Motorsports Safety Group regarding their continuing efforts to make ARCA, and racing in general, a safer place.

Dr. Jason Cormier, founder of the Motorsports Safety Group, would like to take this opportunity to let us know that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a national health recognition time that is near and dear to Dr. Cormier’s everyday job.

As a Neurosurgeon, Dr. Cormier spends most of his time away from the racetrack dealing with people who have severe brain and spine issues. Some of the issues are injury-related, and some are illness-related. In either case, the issues are critical, specific to the importance of the brain and spine functions in our everyday lives.

“Brain injuries can range in scope from mild to severe,” said Dr. Cormier. “Traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to damage to the brain caused by an external physical force such as a car accident, a gunshot wound to the head, or a fall. A TBI is not caused by something internal such as a stroke or tumor, and does not include damage to the brain due to prolonged lack of oxygen (anoxic brain injuries). It is possible to have a TBI and never lose consciousness.”

Damage to brain tissue caused by an external force can cause at least one of the following:

  1. A documented loss of consciousness.
  2. The person cannot recall the actual traumatic event (amnesia).
  3. The person has a skull fracture, post-traumatic seizure, or an abnormal brain scan due to the trauma.

“While the symptoms associated with severe traumatic brain injury are much more obvious, the challenge is to recognize the symptoms of a more mild injury,” Cormier continued. “Immediate or delayed symptoms may include confusion, blurry vision and concentration difficulty.”

Statistics from Centers for Disease Control indicatethe leading cause of brain injury is falls (35%), followed by car crashes (17%) and being struck by an object (16%). Emergency room visits due to TBI caused by falls are increasing for both younger and older people. However, if you focus only on moderate to severe TBI (those injuries that require admission to a neurointensive care unit), car crashes are the most frequent cause of TBI, followed by gunshot wound, falls, sports injuries and assault.

“If you’ve experienced a blow to the head, or have had any of the symptoms related to head injury and concussion, I urge you to seek medical attention," Dr. Cormier said. “Leaving a head injury untreated can, and likely will, cause long term problems.”

Motorsports Safety Group is the collaboration of forward thinking minds geared toward continuing efforts that serve to foster improvements in the safety of racing. The goals of Motorsports Safety Group embody the interests of the group and its partners, ensuring the safety and health of racing teams and their loyal following.

Dr. Cormier crafted this strategic partnership with the ARCA Safety Initiative Program to form a “Motorsports Healthcare Education Plan,” a high profile, interactive activation designed to reach millions of race fans throughout the country. Motorsports Safety Group, with now an international presence, looks forward to a long-term relationship with the ARCA racing family. 

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