UH Med Now

Tips to prevent falls during Brain Injury Awareness Month

Date: March 8th, 2019 in Care, Collaboration, Community Outreach, External News    Print or PDF

falls riding a skateboard.

Pictured: Child falls while riding a skateboard with no helmet or other protective gear. Deborah Manog Dimaya photo.

Did you know that in Hawaii and the United States, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury are from falls and motor vehicle crashes? In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 2.8 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths that occurred in the U.S. were related to traumatic brain injuries.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, we are all susceptible to falls,” said Dr. Violet Horvath, Director of the Pacific Disabilities Center (PDC) at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

After working with individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injuries, Dr. Horvath especially urges youth to make smart decisions when it comes to injury prevention.

“As part of one of our projects (the Hawaii Neurotrauma Registry Project), we talk to students of all ages and ask how many wear a helmet when riding a bike or skateboard. It’s scary that so few of them raise their hands,” Dr. Horvath said.

The scarier part is that even after the presentations, she repeats the question, “‘Now how many of you will wear a helmet?’ and some still don’t raise their hands,” Dr. Horvath said. “So we really try to drive home that message of how important prevention is and how your life can change in an instant.”

March is Brain Injury Awareness month, and PDC wants to let the public know about ways to prevent falls and traumatic brain injuries:

  • Remove tripping hazards from your home, such as throw rugs or piles of paper on the floor.
  • Be careful around pets (many people trip over their dogs and cats!)
  • Have adequate lighting inside your home.
  • Have your eyes, medications, and blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Don’t ride in the back of pickup trucks.
  • Don’t drive drunk or buzzed, and don’t get in a car with a driver who is drunk or buzzed.
  • Wear the proper footwear of the right size.
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, skateboard, motorcycle, or while snowboarding.
  • Don’t show off in sportsThese are just some of the things we can all do to help prevent falls and traumatic brain injuries.


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