Survivors and Family

What is Brain Injury?

Your brain...

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Your brain controls your ability to think, talk, move, and breathe.

In addition to being responsible for your senses, emotions, memory, and personality, your brain allows every part of your body to function – even when you’re sleeping.

Brain injuries that happen after you are born are called acquired brain injury.  When you injure your brain, you injure an important part of the body.

A brain injury...

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A brain injury can affect your ability to:

  • Think and solve problems
  • Move your body and speak
  • Control your behavior, emotions, and reactions.

Preventing Brain Injury

Most traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are preventable.

Someone in the U.S. sustains a TBI every 23 seconds. While most of these injuries occur among children, adolescents, young adults, and people over the age of 75, males who are 14 to 24 years old are at the greatest risk.

People who already have a TBI are also at a greater risk for sustaining another brain injury.

How can you prevent a brain injury?

Use seatbelts

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Everyone in a vehicle should wear seat belt. Children under 12 should always sit in the back seat. Infants, toddlers and children – according to their weight – should use child safety seats or booster seats

Wear bike helmets

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When worn correctly, bike helmets are 85% effective in preventing brain injuries.

Protect playground surfaces

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There should be at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or safety-tested rubber mats that extend six feet in all directions from the equipment.

Use mouth guards and helmets

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Use mouth guards and helmets during sports and recreational activities.

  • Mouth guards can help cushion a blow to the lower jaw and lessen the chance for a concussion.
  • Sports helmets protect your head from equipment, collisions with other players, and falls.

Lock firearms away and use gunlocks

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Approximately 91% of firearm-related brain injuries result in death. 

Avoid falls

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Using step stools, handrails, safety gates on stairs, or window guards can prevent people from falling.

Living With Brain Injury

More than 45,000 people in Arizona are living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Just as no two brains are alike, no two brain injuries are the same, either. As a result, each person living with a TBI is affected in a different way.

What kinds of problems can people living with a TBI have? Here are some examples:

  • Health and physical problems
  • Headaches
  • Head, neck or shoulder pain
  • Balance problems
  • Changes in vision, hearing, smell, or taste
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of energy
  • Thinking problems
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Reacting and thinking slowly
  • Learning problems
  • Difficulty in organizing and planning
  • Behavior and mood problems
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Emotional instability or mood swings
  • Changes in sexual behavior
  • Being impulsive or uninhibited
  • Agitation
  • Isolation
  • Communication problems
  • Can’t focus on one topic
  • Difficulty in finding the right word
  • Talks too much
  • Doesn’t speak clearly or pay attention
  • Difficulty in listening

GET HELP

Support Groups

Find a support group near you —

Most of the listed groups are online. The information for the group will let you know if it is “virtual” or “in person.”

IN-PERSON

PHOENIX SURVIVOR & CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP

This Brain Injury Support Group is for brain injury survivors 18 and above and their family, friends and caregivers who want to meet others who are in similar situations.

This group will meet on the Second Thursday of the month, 6:00-7:30pm
Ability 360 Campus, Classroom B
5025 E Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034

GET DIRECTIONS

At this time, per CDC guidelines, we will require masks to be worn regardless of vaccination status. The seating will also observe physical distancing measures for everyone's safety.

Contact is Will Grove outreach@biaaz.org, 602-508-8024 x104

PRESCOTT | QUAD CITIES SUPPORT GROUP for Survivor & Family-Caregivers

This in-person group offers separate but parallel support groups, one for survivors and another for caregivers. Both caregivers and survivors wait in the lobby area, must sign in, have temperature taken, and wear a mask to attend the meeting.

Group meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 3-4pm.
Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital
3700 N. Windsong Drive
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

SURVIVOR FACILITATOR
Erin Aafedt, M.A. C.C.C.-S.L.P.

CAREGIVER FACILITATOR
Mary Novar, BSW, MA-Counseling

Contact is Mary Novar mnovar1942@gmail.com, 360-252-0690

VIRTUAL

Brain Cave Men’s Discussion Group

A discussion group for men on life after brain injury.

Men ages 18+ who have survived any type of brain injury (concussion, stroke, TBI, brain tumor, etc) are invited to this discussion group for men that focuses on life after brain injury.

This is a conversation-based group where your thoughts and interests are welcome.

Group is currently open statewide to participants.

We will meet via Zoom the first Wednesday of the month from 6:00-7:30 PM.

Contact is Will Grove outreach@biaaz.org, 602-508-8024 x104

REGISTER HERE

Brain Injury Alliance Statewide Support Group

This Brain Injury Alliance Statewide Support Group-Virtual is for brain injury survivors 18 and above and their family, friends and caregivers who want to meet others who are in similar situations.

Group is open statewide to participants.

This group will meet via Zoom the fourth Thursday of the month, 6:00-7:00pm
Facilitator: Dr. Allison O'Mara - Rehab Psychologist

Contact is Will Grove outreach@biaaz.org, 602-508-8024 x104

REGISTER HERE

East Valley Support Group

This Brain Injury Support Group is for brain injury survivors 18 and above and their family, friends and caregivers who want to meet others who are in similar situations.

This group will meet on the Second Wednesday of the month, 4:00-5:30pm.

Facilitator:
Janice Podzimek, CBIS, MHFA

Contact:
Janice@biaaz.org or 602-508-8024 x105

REGISTER HERE

 

Families of Brain Injury (FOBI) Support Group For Caregivers & Loved Ones

Open to the family members of brain injury survivors. This group is designed to help those who have a friend or loved one who has experienced a brain injury deal with the all the new medical information as well as processing the changes in the survivor. You'll learn techniques to help with communication issues, mood swings, and changed expectations. You're not alone but everyone's journey looks different. This group can provide a safe space to share the struggle.

Facilitator is neuropsychologist Dr. Suzanne O'Connor

  • Group will meet via Zoom the first Tuesday of the month, 6:00-7:00pm
  • Group is currently open statewide to participants.
  • Contact Brittany Sweeney-Lawson resources@biaaz.org | 602-508-8024 xt 103

REGISTER HERE

National Drunk & Distracted Driving Survivor Support Group
This support group is for those who have survived an accident where they were injured by a drunk driver or a distracted driver. This group is professionally facilitated, meets virtually, and focuses on living well when brain health challenges or brain injury occur as a result of someone else’s negligence.  
Survivors only are invited to attend, share, and learn in their healing journey

Facilitator is Janice Podzimek, Certified Brain Injury Specialist

  • Group will meet via Zoom the the fourth Friday of the month,
    1:00-2:00pm (PST)/4:00-5:00pm (EST).
  • Contact janice@biaaz.org | 602-508-8024 xt 105

REGISTER HERE

She Shed Women’s Discussion Group

A conversation-based group for navigating the complex emotions of life after brain injury.

This group is open to women ages 18+ across the state of Arizona, who have survived any type of brain injury. Your thoughts, interests, and stories are welcome and encouraged.

Group will meet via Zoom the first Thursday of the month, 5:30-6:30pm

Contact is Janice Podzimek janice@biaaz.org, 602-508-8024 x105

REGISTER HERE

STROKE SUPPORT GROUP for Survivors, Family, & Caregivers

Open to survivors and family members/caregivers, this group focuses specifically on the challenges and changes that can accompany strokes.

Our certified facilitator will lead the group in conversation as well as special topics, as appropriate.

Group will meet via Zoom the third Sunday of the month, 3:00-4:00pm

Group is currently open statewide to participants.

Contact is Will Grove at outreach@biaaz.org, 602-508-8024 xt 104

REGISTER HERE

Southern Arizona Brain Injury Survivor & Caregiver Group

Support group for survivors of all types of brain injury, including TBI, concussions, stroke, tumors, etc., and their families. Meet wonderful people and make new friends.

Group is open to participants throughout southern Arizona.

Group will meet via Zoom the second Tuesday of the month, 5:30-7:00pm

Facilitators are Suzy Albanese and Emily Hayes

CONTACT:
Suzy Albanese at suzy@biaaz.org or 1-888-500-9165, ext. 107

REGISTER HERE

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Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona

5025 E. Washington St, Ste 106
Phoenix, Arizona 85034

QCO CODE: 22360
EIN 94-2937165

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(602) 508-8024

Statewide Info-line
1 (888) 500-9165

Fax (602) 508-8285

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BIAAZ is a chartered affiliate of the
United States Brain Injury Alliance.

usbia.org

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