Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America' Endorse PABI Plan Act

Largest Veterans Organization for Vets of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Supports Bill to Implement The National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan)

New York, NY – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced its support for HR 2600, the PABI Plan Act. HR 2600 will be the largest national initiative dealing with the #1 leading cause of death and disability for American children and young adults up to 25 years of age: brain injury. More than half of our veterans returning from war with traumatic brain injury are under the age of 25 and will be included in this national initiative. HR 2600 was introduced by Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-7) and is co-sponsored by over 90 bi-partisan colleagues.

“As of August 2011, 952,132 service members aged 24 and below had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many people are surprised to learn that these physically strong and mature veterans have brains that are still developing and medically considered pediatric,” stated IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff in his letter of support.

“As unlikely as it would seem, a young SEAL or Marine with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can potentially benefit from the same research and treatment as an infant victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome or a teenager with a TBI from an auto accident,” Mr. Rieckhoff continued.

“Developing a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care to prevent, identify and treat brain injuries is a national obligation to our young military families,” said Congressman Lance. “The PABI Plan Act will accomplish this mission for these young heroes and other American youth suffering from the number one leading cause of death and disability, brain injury.”

“As with every American, we are indebted for the incredible work Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America does every day to support the families of our bravest Americans,” said Patrick Donohue, Founder of The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation. “We are equally grateful for their support of HR 2600 and encouragement to implement the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan).”

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country’s newest generation of veterans and their families. To read the complete letter of support from IAVA please visit: www.TheBrainProject.org/IAVAendorsesHR2600.php.

H.R. 2600 would create a national network of 52 State Lead Centers of Excellence, one for every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with the responsibility of implementing the PABI Plan based on their own state's unique demographics, geography, laws, infrastructure, financing and causes of brain injuries without duplicating current practices. The legislation will cover the entire continuum of care from prevention, treatment in acute medical facilities, reintegration back into the schools, communities and homes and then transitioning into an adult system of greater independent living.

The legislation will also focus on individuals with a "mild" traumatic brain injury which accounts for more than 80 percent of brain injuries each year, commonly referred to as concussions, as well as rural communities which account for 25 percent of the population and have higher incidence rates of brain injuries. For example, the 52 State Lead Centers would help children suffering from sports-related injuries by providing additional information, resources and care. The PABI Plan covers all acquired brain injuries from birth through 25 years of age while the brain is still in its developmental stages, which includes more than half of the young veterans returning from war with a brain injury.

H.R. 2600 is the largest initiative in American history focusing on pediatric acquired brain injury, however, it was written so it does not create any new federal agency, it does not create any new federal positions and it does not increase the federal budget. It was also written so the federal commitment will sunset at the end of seven years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 765,000 American youth aged 25 and younger enter an emergency department every year with a new traumatic brain injury. More than 80,000 are hospitalized and over 11,000 die annually. For more information about the PABI Plan or the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation please visit www.TheBrainProject.org/lettertosarahjane.php.

HR 2600 already has over 90 bi-partisan co-sponsors including: Baca, Joseph N. “Joe” [CA-43], Bachus, Spencer [AL-6], Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2], Barrow, John [GA-12], Berman, Howard [CA-28], Bilbray, Brian [CA-50], Bishop, Sanford [GA-2], Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7], Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3], Bonner, Jo [AL-1], Brady, Robert A. [PA-1], Brown, Corrine [FL-3], Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26], Burton, Dan [IN-5], Capito, Shelley Moore [WV-2], Carnahan, Russ [MO-3], Carson, Andre [IN-7], Connolly, Gerald E. "Gerry" [VA-11], Crenshaw, Ander [FL-4], Davis, Danny K. [IL-7], Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-21], Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14], Fincher, Stephen [TN-8], Fitzpatrick, Mike [PA-8], Frank, Barney [MA-4], Fudge, Marcia L. [OH-11], Gallegly, Elton [CA-24], Griffin, Tim [AR-2], Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7], Grimm, Michael G. [NY-13], Guinta, Frank [NH-1], Hall, Ralph [TX-4], Harper, Gregg [MS-3], Heinrich, Martin [NM-1], Himes, James A. [CT-4], Israel, Steve [NY-2], Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18], Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2], Johnson, Bill [OH-6], Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30], Johnson, Hank [GA-4], Jones, Walter [NC-3], Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5], King, Peter T. [NY-3], Kissell, Larry [NC-8], Langevin, Jim [RI-2], Larson, John B. [CT-1], Latham, Thomas “Tom” [IA-4], Latta, Robert [OH-5], Lewis, John [GA-5], Loebsack, David [IA-2], Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14], Markey, Ed [MA-7], McCotter, Thad [MI-11], McGovern, James P. [MA-3], McIntyre, Mike [NC-7], McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" [CA-25], McKinley, David B. [WV-1], McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5], Meehan, Patrick [PA-7], Michaud, Michael [ME-2], Miller, Brad [NC-13], Moran, James P. [VA-8], Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC], Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4], Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10], Pence, Mike [IN-6], Rahall, Nick [WV-3], Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15], Reed, Tom [NY-29], Richardson, Laura [CA-37], Rivera, David [FL-25], Ross, Mike [AR-4], Runyan, Jon [NJ-3], Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1], Ryan, Tim [OH-17], Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29], Schock, Aaron [IL-18], Sessions, Pete [TX-32], Sires, Albio [NJ-13], Stivers, Steve [OH-15], Thompson, Glenn [PA-5], Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12], Tierney, John [MA-6], Tonko, Paul [NY-21], Towns, Ed [NY-10], Walz, Timothy [MN-1], West, Allen [FL-22], Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3], Young, Don [AK]; Primary Sponsor: Lance, Leonard [NJ-7]