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Motorcyclists ride through West Virginia to raise support for TBI

You probably were aware that bike helmets may save lives and minimize traumatic brain injuries. However, you may not have known that for children in West Virginia under the age of 14, it is also the law.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force causes the brain to move within the skull. The force can be the result of a car accident, biking fall, a sports injury or being struck with an object. Potential long term effects of TBI may include reduced cognitive function, reduced motor function and possible emotional changes.

A group of motorcyclists -- most wearing helmets, hopefully -- are riding through West Virginia on a 1,000 mile journey to raise funds for victims of TBI. Called the Give-Back-24 challenge, the fundraiser requires the cyclists to ride 1,000 miles in a 24-hour time period. Proceeds will benefit the Invisible Wounds of War Fund, an entity designed to assist troops, veterans and their families affected by TBI. To date, over $10,000 has been raised for the fund.

Yet TBI affects more than just our troops and veterans. Brain injuries occur in all demographics and can range in severity from mild concussions or disorientation to unconsciousness and amnesia. According to a study, brain injuries accounted for 3,600 hospitalizations in West Virginia in 1996. In addition to being a leading cause of disability, TBI is also a leading cause for fatalities of persons under the age of 44.

We do not yet fully understand how the brain works, which is why TBI injuries can seem so debilitating. Fortunately many brain injuries can be prevented by wearing seat belts, placing children in car seats and wearing helmets in contact sports and while bicycling.

If you have suffered a brain injury due to the negligence of another party, you have a right to sue for compensation. An attorney can advise you of your available options.

Source: 4NBC Washington, "24-Hour Bike Ride to Support Troops With PTSD," Hilary Bubes, June 5, 2012

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