FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE HONORS STATE OFFICIALS
Eddie Reynolds, Outreach Director
Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky
7321 New LaGrange Road, Suite 100
Louisville, Kentucky 40222
Preventing sports concussions, working with Service Members returning from war with mild traumatic brain injuries, expanding healthcare coverage for persons with brain injury, providing for better supervision of personal care homes, supporting caregivers of people with brain injury and encouraging other survivors to be involved, were celebrated last week at the twenty-sixth annual meeting of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky. The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky is a non-profit agency that is dedicated to serving those affected by brain injury through advocacy, education, outreach, prevention and support.
Julian Tackett, commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and Rep. Joni Jenkins (D. Louisville) were both instrumental in getting HR 281 and HR 58 passed in the 2012 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. HR 281 requires that coaches, trainers, athletes and parents take some training regarding sports concussions and that when a player is suspected of having a concussion they will not be allowed to return to play until cleared by a healthcare provider trained in sports concussions. Kentucky is now one of thirty-eight states that have such legislation and one of only two states that have legislation that will affect non-scholastic sports leagues in HR 58. The efforts of both Rep. Jenkins and Commissioner Tackett were responsible in the passage of this legislation. Together KSHAA, BIAK, Kentucky Athletic Trainers Association, and Norton Healthcare designed a web page that training and educates people about sports concussions. That site, www.kyconcussions.com is a comprehensive tool that will allow people to get training free of charge and will allow them to show that they have received credit for that training.
Major General Edward Tonini received a Star Award for his many efforts to promote brain injury awareness among the Kentuckians who have been deployed in combat overseas. He helped BIAK produce a video that trains physicians in disciplines other than neurology to recognize the sign and symptoms of concussion and post-concussive syndrome. His support of BIAK also helped lead to Kentucky being one of the first states in the nation to produce a comprehensive resource journal designed specifically for military veterans and their families.
The injuries in 2011 of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the injury Rep. Dewayne Bunch received last April while breaking up a fight in Whitley County High School brought to light the belief that effective rehabilitation early in the injury improves the long term condition of the patient. However, most health insurance companies have been limiting their payments for rehabilitation after a person has been discharged from the hospital. Representatives Addia Wuchner, (R. Burlington) and Rep. Regina Bunch (R. Williamsburg) both were responsible for HR 225. Known as the Dewayne Bunch Bill, it charges the Kentucky House of Representatives to examine the impact that brain injury has on Kentucky families and the benefits of requiring better coverage for the survivors of brain injury. Their efforts in this area lead BIAK to award them a Star Award. Rep. Bunch was unable to attend because of the death of her husband, Dewayne; however, she was recognized and a moment of silence was observed for Rep. Dewayne Bunch.
Melissa Lee Knight was awarded the Mary Hass Advocacy Award for her efforts to lobby for better care in personal care homes for persons with brain injury. Her brother, Larry Lee, died last August after wandering away from his personal care home in Falmouth, Kentucky. SB 115 requires an evaluation of a person before admission to a personal care home. This bill is known as “Larry’s Law.” Her efforts also lead the state to strengthen the golden alert system to include persons with brain injuries and to include training for first responders. Sen. Jimmy Higdon and Rep. Terry Mills were present at the presentation and Rep. Mills also presented Mrs. Knight with a certificate of recognition from the Kentucky House of Representatives.
For their efforts to support individuals with brain injury and their efforts to establish a support for caregivers, BIAK awarded Melissa Stover and the staff at Frazier Rehab Hospitals’ Neuro Rehab Program a Star Award. Melissa has made education a priority in her work with Frazier. She has worked closely with BIAK in the establishment of the support group for caregivers.
Tod Grossman, a brain injury survivor, was awarded a Star Award for his efforts to raise awareness of brain injury and his support for BIAK. Tod tells his story and enlists others to donate items for the silent auction that is held annually at the BIAK Brain Ball. Tod spoke briefly about his desire to help others affected by brain injury.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky seeks to reach across the state to provide information and to coordinate activities that either help persons with brain injury, or that will prevent brain injuries. For more information about BIAK, you can visit www.biak.us or call us toll-free at 1-800-592-1117.