President Obama signed legislation today sponsored by U.S. Rep Bill Pascrell reauthorizing the government to help those suffering from traumatic brain injury and to conduct research into the issue.
The measure was sponsored by Pascrell (D-9th Dist.) and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The original law was passed in 1996 and revised versions were enacted in 2000 and 2008.
Pascrell singled out military veterans and athletes as two groups particularly affected by brain injuries.
It was one of 11 bills signed into law by Obama right before Thanksgiving.
Traumatic brain injury afflicts about 2.5 million Americans annually and approximately 5.3 million live with long-term disabilities due to brain injuries, costing the U.S. $60 billion a year, according to Pascrell, who founded the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. He said that 360,000 troops received traumatic brain injuries during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Approximately 2.5 million Americans experience traumatic brain injury each year and an estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with long-term, severe disabilities as a result of brain injury. Another 176,000 men and women have sustained a TBI in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The legislation “will help improve our ability to prevent, detect and treat brain injuries,” Pascrell said. “This reauthorization will bring us one step closer to providing those suffering from these devastating injuries with the resources they need to live healthy lives.”
The bill was written to help those suffering from traumatic brain injuries and their families obtain rehabilitation programs, long-term care and support services. Under the legislation, the Health Resources and Services Administration will help states develop and expand services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide prevention and public education programs and the National Institutes of Health will do research.
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