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Richard D. Ott, Bismarck, Published May 13 2012

Brain injury article offered useful information

We appreciate the article published in The Forum regarding concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries. One of our biggest challenges is making the community aware of the “silent epidemic,” and this kind of exposure helps move in that direction. It is estimated that by 2020, TBI will be the single most significant public health problem in the world. We must prepare ourselves for this demand.

We are the Head Injury Association of North Dakota, and we have services to offer that might be of assistance to some of your readers. The one that comes immediately to mind is our Peer Mentoring Program. This effort connects TBI constituents and their families with a mentor who has been trained for the position, who may have gone through similar experiences personally and who is available to offer informal support for those affected by the injury. All services provided by the association are free.

The problems faced by the people cited in your article emphasize the need for case workers for those undergoing TBI. Case workers could, among other things, help those people and their families navigate the systems that must be traveled, fulfill the basic demands of daily life and help them remember the schedules that must be kept.

As an organization we have been pursuing such services through the Legislature but so far have been unsuccessful. We intend to take another run at it during the next legislative session.

Thanks again for the coverage, and more information is available by calling the association at (877) 525-2724 or in Bismarck at (701) 255-2120.

Ott is executive director, Head Injury Association

of North Dakota.