PASCRELL RESPONDS TO ALARMING CDC STUDY ON TBI FATALITIES AMONG ELDERLY AMERICANS
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) the co-Founder and co-Chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force today responded to a troubling study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that revealed in 2005 alone traumatic brain injuries (TBI) resulted in nearly 8,000 deaths and 56,000 hospitalizations among Americans age 65 and older.
"The alarming number of seniors killed and injured by TBIs in this CDC report should signal an urgent call to action from Congress," stated Pascrell. "With figures like this, TBI won't be known as the silent epidemic' for long. As we continue to learn about the prevalence of TBIs here at home and abroad on the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is critical that Congress take on a greater role in caring for the brain injured and strive for new preventative measures."
On April 28, 2008, President Bush signed Pascrell's TBI Act into law. Originally passed in 1996 and reauthorized in 2000, the TBI Act represents a foundation for coordinated and balanced public policy in prevention, education, research and community-living for people with TBI. The recently signed TBI Act will reauthorize federal programs under CDC, the National Institute for Health (NIH), the Health Resources Administration (HRSA) and others through 2011.
The TBI Act is the only federal law that specifically authorizes programs to support individuals with brain injury. Prior to the 1996 law, federal agencies like CDC, NIH and HRSA did not have the tools to assess the number of brain injury victims or provide services to them.
"Although troubling, the results of this report have driven a new public awareness that demonstrates the success of the TBI Act. Before 1996 when the TBI Act was originally made law, public health officials and Congress never fully understood the prevalence of brain injuries, or the impact they've had in our society. We would have never known that a devastating 8,000 elderly Americans died in just one year as the result of traumatic brain injuries. Now it is our responsibility to take these numbers and use them to craft public policy that will help health experts provide better care and even heal brain injury victims. The science is there. With figures like this, I know the will of Congress will only grow stronger," concluded Pascrell.