Pascrell Honored by State Brain Injury Association for Congressional Leadership in Addressing "Silent Epidemic"
BIANJ Highlights Increased Attention on Capitol Hill in Naming Lawmaker 2002 Honoree
PATERSON - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., (D-NJ-8) Co-Chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, was honored today by the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey for his national leadership in raising awareness of brain injuries and leading the fight for increased funding for federal brain injury programs and research.
Pascrell, who began his work in this area after meeting constituent Dennis Benigno of Clifton, formed the bipartisan Task Force with Republican Co-Chair Rep. Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania.
Approximately 2 million Americans experience TBI each year, and at least 5.3 million Americans are living with long-term, severe disabilities as a result of brain injury. The national cost of TBI is estimated to be over $48 billion annually. Someone in America suffers a traumatic brain injury every 21 seconds.
"I am honored to be this year's honoree of the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey," Pascrell said. "The real honorees in this struggle are the families who day in and day out care for and love their family members who have been afflicted and do so without fanfare, without applause. They just do it because they love their son or daughter, brother or sister."
"Traumatic brain injury can strike anyone and leave devastating results, and Congress has an obligation to examine the issue and see what can be done," stated Pascrell. "These injuries affect the victim's whole family, and often result in immense medical and rehabilitative expenses. This is the leading cause of death and disability among young Americans, and our Brain Injury Task Force is working to ensure that Congress makes addressing it a priority."
"The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey is proud that one of the Garden State's own has shown such initiative in the nation's effort to confront the 'silent epidemic' of brain injury. The Association thanks Congressman Bill Pascrell for his leadership and vision," said Brian Cook, Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs for the BIANJ."
Pascrell is the author of a provision of the "Children's Health Act of 2000" which authorizes The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fund grants to States to develop and operate traumatic brain injury (TBI) registry programs and to fund academic institutions to conduct research to support the development of these registries. The registries will collect important information about who has had a TBI and what happens to them after their injury. His Republican Task Force Co-Chair, Rep. Greenwood, authored the "Traumatic Brain Injury Act" of 1996 and with Pascrell engineered its reauthorization last year as part of the "Children's Health Act."
Last week, Pascrell authored a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that $36.8 million be allocated for funding the Traumatic Brain Act programs in Fiscal Year 2003. The letter was co-signed by dozens of House members.
Click here to read Congressman Pascrell's comments at this event.