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022217-nws-brain-injuries

Rebecca Quinn, left, listens as Shannon Binstock talks Tuesday about the upcoming media campaign "Know Your Noggin" for North Dakota Brain Injury Network during a press conference at the state Capitol in Bismarck. Binstock, Kristine Medeiros and her son, Asa Omlid, far right, are featured in the television ad campaign to bring awareness and education on the issues related to traumatic brain injuries. 

A group that works with people whose lives have been impacted by traumatic brain injuries wants North Dakotans to know if they’ve sustained an injury they’re not alone.

Leadership of the North Dakota Brain Injury Network launched an advertising campaign Tuesday that will last through June to educate the public and help direct those in need of services toward programs and services.

“This is an opportunity to bring attention to brain injury in the state,” North Dakota Brain Injury Network program director Rebecca Quinn said in the state Capitol press studio Tuesday. “To help them understand there’s resources available.”

The effort is being conducted by the North Dakota Department of Human Services and North Dakota Brain Injury Network. The Brain Injury Network is based in Grand Forks.

Campaign information will be provided through television, radio, print and online. It’s meant to coincide with Brain Injury Awareness Month, which falls in March. The campaign is entitled “Know Your Noggin.”

The campaign is being funded by $325,000 in one-time federal dollars.

Based on federal Centers for Disease Prevention and Control data, an estimated 13,000 state residents have long-term disabilities tied to traumatic brain injuries and an estimated 3,700 people in the state experience such injuries each year, according to Quinn.

Such injuries typically are caused by external forces, such as a blow to the head.

A common misperception is that traumatic brain injuries involve athletes. Quinn said young people and the elderly are also susceptible. She encouraged those who have sustained a head injury to be on the lookout for warning signs that may require seeking additional medical care.

The group played a series of television ads that will be airing across the state over the next few months.

Shannon Binstock, of South Heart, is among those featured in an advertisement. She wasn’t wearing any protective gear on her head when thrown from a horse a few years ago. When she regained consciousness two months later, her memory was severely impaired.

“The very limited amount of available help you can receive is hard to find,” Binstock said of the process of finding assistance during the recovery process.

Binstock eventually began a support group for those dealing with brain injuries in the Dickinson area, which she said has around 30 members.

Kristine Medeiros, of Watford City, was in attendance with her son, Asa Omlid. Her son is also in one of the advertisements; he was partially paralyzed in a car accident.

“It’s a journey, and we’re getting there,” Medeiros said of his recovery efforts.

The group also spoke in favor of House Bill 1085, which would create a statewide brain injury advisory council. The group would be able to discuss and work toward promoting programs and ways to improve quality of life for those living with such injuries.

HB1085 recently passed the House by an 81-9 vote.

For more information on the organization and brain injuries, visit www.knowyournogginnd.com or www.ndbin.org.

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(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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