To the Editor:
On behalf of the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island and the individuals and families we serve, we feel compelled to respond to President Trump's statement regarding brain injury when addressing reporters in Switzerland last Wednesday.
When questioned about the soldiers injured at the Iraqi military base, the president diminished the severity of the soldiers' injuries.
“No, I don't consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I've seen," Trump said during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "I've seen people with no legs and no arms."
Most people who have not been affected by brain injury do not understand how a brain injury (even a "mild" injury) can significantly interfere with a person's ability to fulfill their life responsibilities. Brain injury often is an "invisible injury" or "hidden disability" that will lead people to minimize the severity of such injuries. To some extent, it is hard to blame someone for what they do not know but, for the people who do understand how a brain injury can drastically impact a person's life, comments like the President’s can be infuriating.
Organizations like the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island are committed to increasing awareness about brain injury its consequences to challenge the stigma associated with brain injury. To those living with a brain injury or offended by the President's comments, please do not be defeated and know that BIARI, its board of directors, membership, and all those who understand the consequences of brain injury Support You, Your Family, And Your Efforts to be your best self.
We echo the statements of Susan H. Connors, president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), "A brain injury changes the way you move, act, think, and feel; it has the potential to change who you are at your core. What could be more serious than that? As the nation's oldest and
largest brain injury advocacy organization, BIAA is disappointed in the President's characterization of TBI as 'just a headache' and especially in his implication that those who sustain TBIs in service for their country are not suffering serious injuries."
For more information about brain injury and its impact, please visit www.biausa.org. To learn about specific resources
in Rhode Island please phone 228-3319 or visit www.biari.org.
Nicholas J. Cioe, Ph.D., CRC, CBST
President, Board of Directors
Debra L. Sharpe
Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island