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Pascrell, Rooney, Hatch, and Casey Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization

Today, U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Tom Rooney (R-FL-17) and Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statements after introducing the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Reauthorization Act of 2018 in the Senate and House of Representatives. The legislation extends the federal TBI program through 2024. It also authorizes resources to boost the CDC’s recent efforts to launch a National Concussion Surveillance System as a means to fill longstanding data gaps and provide a better estimate of the TBI burden.

“I am proud to introduce this critical bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act,” said Rep. Pascrell, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. “For the last 18 years, I have fought to advance research and treatment for TBI because our athletes on the ballfield and our brave soldiers on the battlefield deserve more. While we have a long way to go, the advances in technology since Congress first started having this conversation can bring us closer to a world where no one must endure the consequences of a brain injury. This goal will take the right investments and partnerships, and this legislation does just that. For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be able to implement a study to see how many people, both young and old, have sustained a brain injury, which will give us critical insight into this problem. This new TBI Act also modernizes how the government oversees TBI research, treatment, and prevention. And it provides an adjustment to account for the long overdue increase in funding for TBI that I fought to pass in the FY 2018 Omnibus last year. I look forward to working with my fellow Co-Chair of the TBI Task Force Congressman Tom Rooney, as well as Senators Casey and Hatch to ensure this legislation passes Congress and heads quickly to the President’s desk.” 

“Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) effect millions of people every year; from those in our veteran community to those in youth sports to their families,” said Rep. Rooney. “Throughout my ten years in Congress and as chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, I have been a staunch advocate in raising awareness for TBIs. The reauthorization and modernization of the TBI program will ensure the research, education, and advocacy efforts for these injuries will continue. I want to thank my colleagues, Congressman Bill Pascrell and Senators Casey and Hatch, for their efforts in advancing this bill which will help us better understand TBIs and help mitigate and treat these injuries going forward.”  

“I am pleased to work with a bipartisan group of my colleagues on this reauthorization of the TBI Act,” said Sen. Casey. “This important legislation provides much-needed support for individuals and families living with TBI, and also builds on the CDC’s work to more accurately determine the prevalence of concussion and TBI so that we can improve our prevention and treatment efforts.” 

“The CDC has reported that this year alone, about 2.5 million children and adults will experience a traumatic brain injury,” said Sen. Hatch. “We know TBI is a serious problem, but we fail to grasp its severity and scope. Our bill will change that. By reauthorizing the TBI program, our legislation will extend important research, education, and advocacy efforts to help us better understand the nature of brain trauma and reduce the prevalence of these injuries going forward.” 

The Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization of 2018 is supported by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA).

For decades, Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in advancing brain injury policy on Capitol Hill. He co-founded the Brain Injury Task Force in 2001 and has served as task force co-chair since its inception. The Task Force works to increase awareness of brain injury in the United States, supports research initiatives for rehabilitation and potential cures, and strives to address the effects these injuries have on all Americans, including children, members of the Armed Forces, and athletes.

Reps. Pascrell and Rooney also champion funding for programs at the Department of Defense that go towards TBI research and treatment, such as the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence. 

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