More Than My Brain Injury

Division of Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology

Psychological Society of South Africa

World Head Injury Awareness Day is observed annually on the 20th of March. The core purpose of this day is to provide awareness and to educate the public about traumatic head injuries[1]. Another focus is enhancing awareness and knowledge on how to reduce accidents and brain injuries. The day therefore also advocates for the correct usage of various safety equipment (e.g. helmets, seat-belts, etc.) which can prevent or lessen insult to the brain when involved in accidents[2].

Traumatic brain (head) injuries (TBI) are a leading cause of disability and mortality worldwide and a few years ago, the World Health Organization indicated that TBI would surpass many diseases as the major cause of death and disability by the year 2020. Global estimates are that in excess of 10 million people are affected annually by TBI, making this a serious public health concern[3]. In South Africa it is one of the leading causes of disability and most commonly occurs as a result of motor vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian accidents, falls and violence[4]. Notable in terms of the latter are the country’s high levels of gender-based violence which frequently results in TBIs. Sports-related head injuries are also recognised as a risk for TBIs and their associated cognitive and behavioural problems, and the need for post-concussion monitoring is now emphasise. Importantly, about 22% of all injuries sustained in soccer have been identified as TBIs/concussions[5].

The theme for World Head Injury Awareness Day for the 2021 to 2023 campaign is “More Than My Brain Injury”. Survivors of brain injury are often challenged with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social limitations, severely impacting on life with significant economic consequences[6].



[3] Hyder AA, Wunderlich CA, Puvanachandra P, Gururaj G, Kobusingye OC. The impact of traumatic brain injuries: a global perspective. NeuroRehabilitation. 2007;22(5):341-53. PMID: 18162698.


[5] Levy ML, Kasasbeh, AH, Baird LZ, Amene C, Skeen J  Marshall, L (2011). Concussions in soccer: a current understanding DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2011.10.032

[6] Johnson, W.D; & Griswold, D. (2017). Traumatic brain injury: a global challenge. The Lancet Neurology, 16(12), 949-950.