The Concussed Female Brain



First-in-nation collaboration brings together law enforcement, medical community and researchers to assist domestic violence victims

A ground-breaking collaboration between law enforcement, the medical community and brain researchers will develop a better understanding, rapid identification and better treatment of concussions in domestic violence victims.



Group to study concussions resulting from domestic violence

A partnership of Phoenix-area health care and law enforcement organizations is launching a study into concussions caused by domestic violence.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says the study is intended to provide victims with better assessments of their conditions and appropriate care and to develop so-called best practices to help catch and prosecute the abusers.



Health care leaders, police and prosecutors join forces to research concussions in domestic violence victims

Maricopa County prosecutors, Mesa police and health care leaders are teaming up to research the prevalence of concussions in domestic violence victims.

County prosecutors said a study could lead to better treatment for domestic violence victims as well as more prosecutions against their attackers.




The vast majority of domestic-violence victims who show signs of traumatic brain injury never receive a formal diagnosis.

In the first version of her story, Grace Costa says that, on the night after Christmas, in 2012, her ex-boyfriend broke into her house, hid behind her bedroom door, and then attacked her as she and her two grown children-a son and a daughter-were about to eat dinner. In the second version, it’s still the night after Christmas, but it might be 2013, and only her daughter is at home with her. There’s a half-eaten apple on the floor of the kitchen; she remembers asking her daughter if she’d thrown it toward the garbage and missed. She also remembers thinking that she’d left the outside light on and then it was off.



Safer Soccer Campaign Announces Groundswell of Support from Soccer Stars, Coaches, Concussion Experts, and Sports & Health Organizations

United States soccer legends Kristine Lilly and Julie Foudy, decorated women’s national team coach Tony DiCicco, Santa Clara University women’s soccer head coach Jerry Smith, the Women’s Sports Foundation, the LA84 Foundation and a dozen concussion researchers and clinicians headline a list of the latest soccer, medical, and youth sports experts to announce their support of the Safer Soccer campaign.

Read more…


Program Launched to Treat Link Between Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the largest (and longest running) domestic violence shelters in the U.S. recently announced plans to develop the first program dedicated to the analysis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in women and children coping with domestic violence. Much like professional sports players and military personnel, women and children impacted by domestic violence are more likely than the general public to suffer from a TBI. Previous studies of domestic-violence shelters have found that an estimated 92 percent of women had been hit in the head by their partners, 83 percent had been both hit in the head and severely shaken and nearly eight percent had been hit in the head over 20 times in the previous year.



If You’re A Domestic Violence Survivor With Unexplained Symptoms, Read This

Earlier this week, The Huffington Post ran a story on undiagnosed traumatic brain injury in domestic violence survivors. We received an outpouring of emails from women who suspected they might be suffering from the condition. Here, we spoke to some experts on what women should do if they believe they have a traumatic brain injury.



An Understudied Area of TBI

Although this blog primarily focuses on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) – concussion – and the ramifications on adolescents there are many segments of society that deal with brain injury. The most severe of this is traumatic brain injury (TBI); the difference at its basics is that there is actual physical findings of damage to the brain itself – a bleed, skull fracture, hematoma, etc. I am sure there may be a better way to put it but for the sake of being simple that is the difference.

The morbidity rate of TBI is extremely high and thusly we should be very cognizant of this.



The Women Who Face More Traumatic Brain Injury Than NFL Players

Thirty years ago, Kerri Walker, now a coordinator for a domestic violence shelter in Phoenix, found herself inexplicably driving down the left side of the road into oncoming traffic. “It felt totally normal,” she said, recalling how she was oblivious to the danger. Walker escaped an accident that day, but looking back now, it was the first clue she had an undiagnosed brain injury.

At the time, Walker, 51, was in the throes of an abusive relationship, she said. She estimated that over a 2 1/2-year period, she was hit in the head around 15 times — once with a gun — and violently shaken.



Sojourner Center




Media Contact:
Teri Hauser
Sojourner Center


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        June 2, 2015

Sojourner Center Launches First-of-its-Kind Effort to Study Link Between Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury
Sojourner BRAIN Program to develop innovative screening, deliver treatment and share best practices

PHOENIX – Sojourner Center, one of the largest and longest running domestic violence shelters in the United States, announced plans to develop the first world-class program dedicated to the analysis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in women and children living with domestic violence, a largely unrecognized public health issue.

With its Phoenix-based partners The CACTIS Foundation and Conquering Concussions, LLC, the Sojourner BRAIN (Brain Recovery And Inter-professional Neuroscience) Program will serve as a center of excellence, leading the domestic violence field in developing a body of knowledge regarding the incidence, short- and long-term effects, and treatment of TBI in a domestic violence population. The strategic alignment catalyzes an inter-professional, multi-institutional team uniquely suited to address this issue. Other collaborating institutions include the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Much like professional football players and U.S. combat troops, women and children impacted by domestic violence are far more likely than the general public to have sustained a TBI. Of the published studies that do exist, the findings are telling. According to one survey of women in domestic violence shelters, an estimated 92 percent of women had been hit in the head by their partners, 83 percent had been both hit in the head and severely shaken, and nearly eight percent had been hit in the head over 20 times in the previous year1.

“Accounting for the incidence of TBI in victims of domestic violence could potentially result in 20 million women exhibiting signs and symptoms of TBI each year – a number that is 12 times greater than any published incidence of TBI in the general population,” said Hirsch Handmaker, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CACTIS Foundation. “Additionally, it is estimated that in 50 percent of households where domestic violence occurs, a child is also at risk for TBI. The Sojourner BRAIN Program will bring to light this rarely reported public health epidemic and guide evidenced-based ‘best practices’ by producing effective, quantifiable outcomes.”

In addition to creating a meaningful database and assessing and treating TBI at Sojourner Center, the Sojourner BRAIN Program will inform and share standards of care, procedures, protocols and clinical practices with other domestic violence and social service providers, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, pediatricians and other professionals. Clinical internships and residency opportunities will further extend the impact of the collaborative beyond the walls of Sojourner Center.

“Despite the alarming statistics, domestic violence facilities and service providers are not, in large part, addressing the needs of women and children experiencing TBI. It is not standard practice to screen participants for TBI, and shelter staff are not trained to manage, intervene or treat TBI when they encounter it,” said Maria E. Garay, M.S.W., Ph.D., Sojourner Center Chief Executive Officer. “We want to evolve our understanding of TBI in domestic violence, so that we can provide a supportive environment that promotes healing and direct change with solutions that can end domestic violence not just here in Phoenix, but nationwide and globally.”

As part of its initial roll out, the Sojourner BRAIN Program is conducting a study of women in residence to assess the incidence of TBI in this population. Sojourner Center and its partners will use the study results to begin screening all participants for TBI during intake at the shelter’s main campus beginning in late 2015. In doing so, it will be the first domestic violence shelter to systematically screen its participants for TBI with domestic violence-specific tools. Robert Knechtel, M.D., J.D., Sojourner Center Chief Operating Officer will serve as the interim director of the Sojourner BRAIN Program.

“Most domestic violence research skims the surface of TBI and its associated problems,” said Knechtel. “Sojourner Center seeks to dig deeper, listen to our participants, and gather empirical data to inform hypotheses on how we can better assess and treat the specific and long-lasting trauma domestic violence imparts on women and children. We will do this not only through the program, but also through several focus areas aimed at strengthening direct services and translating evidence-based best practices to the wider public health and social services fields.”

The Sojourner BRAIN Program is a key strategic initiative supporting a robust Circle of Care approach launched in 2014 to strengthen Sojourner Center’s core programs and services to provide more effective treatment for women, families and unique populations who are affected by domestic violence. The long- term goal moves beyond shelter toward prevention and seeks to engage all sectors of society to bend, break, and end the cycle of abuse and domestic violence in society.


TMC teams up with the CACTIS Foundation to establish baseline concussion testing for young athletes

Tucson Medical Center is teaming up with the Central Arizona Center for Therapy and Imaging Services Foundation and Conquering Concussions, LLC, to respond to an emerging health concern affecting thousands of young athletes in Southern Arizona.

Read more…


Medical teams talk concussion safety at Shootout

Whatever the weekend forecast, there is a 100 percent chance of soccer happening around southern Arizona.

The 25th Annual Soccer Shootout kicks off Friday night at Fort Lowell Park where medical teams set up a tent for the first time this year.



Health officials raise concussion awareness at soccer shootout

The Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout kicked off at Fort Lowell Park Friday night.

About half of the 349 youth soccer teams were from out of town. The event brings an estimated $4 million to the local economy.


Charlie Shearer, OD Tests the Capabilities of a Young Soccer Player

CACTIS Foundation partners with Banner Concussion Center to Prevent Soccer Injuries

Dr. Charlie Shearer, an optometry consultant with CACTIS, tests the near/far accommodation capabilities of a young soccer player. Several of Dr. Shearer’s inventions and techniques are in daily use at the Banner Concussion Center.


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