Brain Injury Awareness Month 2012: Information, Events and ResourcesDenver Options selected to present Operation TBI Freedom at the Ninth World Congress on Brain Injury in Edinburgh, Scotland
Media Relations Specialist
DENVER, CO — March 5, 2012 — After Anthony Thomas suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), his life spiraled out of control. Not knowing where to turn for help and struggling with memory loss, pain and decreased cognitive function, he lost his job and custody of his four boys. Ultimately, he became homeless and addicted to drugs.
“Everything changed after I called Denver Options,” Anthony said. “Once I began receiving TBI services through Colorado Connections my life began to really improve.”
Colorado Connections’ Care Coordinator Melissa Mascarenas first helped Anthony Thomas get a new pair of glasses. With his sight restored, he was able to drive again. Resource referrals helped Thomas turn away from drugs and eventually get his children back. A housing voucher program opened the door to a townhouse with room for the whole family and assistance with utility payments helped the family through the winter months.
Denver Options provides comprehensive services and resources to Coloradans with TBI through two statewide programs, Colorado Connections and Operation TBI Freedom. Colorado Connections has provided services to more than 3,000 adults with traumatic brain injury throughout the state and Operation TBI Freedom currently supports 600 active duty and military veterans who are diagnosed with TBI as a result of serving in the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts.
As part of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, Denver Options is partnering with the Colorado TBI Trust Fund, the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado, community centers and hospitals to offer the free statewide TBI webinar, Understanding Social Relationships After Brain Injury, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14. Topics include understanding social relationships, dating, marriage, long-term committed relationships, interacting with co-workers and avoiding exploitation. See below for details and locations.
In addition, Operation TBI Freedom program experts, Jennifer Anderson and Christen Mason have been selected to present with Craig Hospital’s Dr. Alan Wientraub at the Ninth World Congress on Brain Injury in Edinburgh, Scotland, March 21-25. The group will share research and expertise that has been developed on traumatic brain injuries here in Colorado with an international audience.
Every year in the United States, approximately 1.7 million people, including 475,000 children sustain a traumatic brain injury. Currently, 3.1 million individuals live with a life-long disability as a result of TBI. In Colorado, more than 5,000 military personnel are expected to return to the state with TBI, and approximately 27,000 individuals will visit the emergency department for a traumatic brain injury, and as a result, live with varying levels of disability from their injury.
Some will completely recover from their TBI while others will never speak again. For Anthony Thomas, having access to a professional care coordinator after his TBI made all the difference. He has found a job, and he’s grateful for all the little things he once took for granted like enjoying meals in his own home and providing for his family again.
“Denver Options knows where the real resources are,” Thomas said. “Because of their help, we have a wonderful life and real hope for our future.”
To learn more about Brain Injury Awareness Month information and events, Denver Options, Colorado Connections, Operation TBI Freedom and other great resources visit: www.denveroptions.org/TBImonth.