WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today announced over 100 bipartisan cosigners of a letter to the President urging the implementation of Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI) Plan. Lance, a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, spearheaded the bipartisan letter with Reps. Langevin (RI-2), Rangel (NY-13) and Grimm (NY-11) to combat pediatric brain injury: the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the United States.
“Implementing the Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI) Plan will make a real difference in the lives of many. Too often we hear the tragic stories of brain injuries stemming from military service, accidents or falls and the hardship such trauma puts on the injured and their families,” said Lance. “Putting in place the PABI Plan will end the complicated framework of care and incorporate a seamless, data-driven system to put children and families first.”
PABI is caused by trauma such as motor vehicle crashes, sports-related concussions, child abuse, falls or blast injury from war – the signature wound of young veterans returning home from combat. In addition, it also includes non-traumatic causes such as epilepsy and seizure disorders, meningitis, brain tumors, or strokes. Each year, more than 765,000 young Americans under the age of 25 enter an emergency department with a brain injury.
“The millions of families who have a child or young adult with a brain injury are very grateful for the continued bi-partisan Congressional support to develop a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care for American youth who suffer from a brain injury,” said Patrick Donohue, who in 2007 established the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, named for his daughter was violently shaken by her baby nurse when she was five days old, causing a severe brain injury. “We have the utmost confidence President Obama will act on this public health crisis.”
Due to the lack of federal research for PABI over the past thirty years, families face a patchwork system of care – varying from state to state and from one doctor’s office to another. In response, a wide range of stakeholders, including the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, came together in 2009 to create the first-ever National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan.
Barbara Geiger-Parker, the President & CEO of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey, also praised the letter. “The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey recognizes the need for a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care that is available to children, young adults, and their families so that they may maximize their quality of life. Enacting the Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan helps to achieve this important goal. We appreciate the leadership of Congressman Lance and other members of Congress who, in a bipartisan effort, have come together to address the needs of children, youth, and families impacted by the consequences of brain injury. The Alliance encourages Congress and the President to implement the Plan immediately.”
The letter gathered attention from advocates urging their Member of Congress to sign on to the effort during the month of March, which is brain injury awareness month. Implementing this plan does not require legislation or the appropriation of any new funds and would dramatically help improve the lives of youth who suffer from pediatric acquired brain injury and their families.