HHS Hosts Virtual Conference for Brain Injury Awareness Month

April 25, 2022

In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month in March, the HHS Texas Brain Injury Programs hosted a free virtual conference, “Resiliency and Recovery: Bouncing Forward,” focusing on resilience in brain injury and how resilience is fostered in the recovery process.

This year’s conference reinforced that everyone’s brain is unique, and therefore, every injury and its effects are specific to the person. A brain injury’s effect is not always limited to the person with the injury — it extends to the people who help and support that person as well. The individual needs of those involved in the recovery process can benefit from a person-centered approach.

More than 300 people from around the country attended the conference, including people from Alaska, Vermont and Tennessee.

Karen Williams, a consultant and trainer specializing in areas of brain development, opened the conference. She knows the importance of resilience in the recovery process after sustaining a brain injury from carbon monoxide poisoning several years ago.

“The conference provided essential information for the novice and the expert in the field of acquired brain injury regarding the psychological impacts of ABI, not only on the person with an injury, but also on caregivers, family members and advocates,” Williams said. “I learned a new term, ‘vicarious resiliency,’ and the benefits for the observers of those who display resiliency during their recovery.”

Participants also heard from Rebeccah Wolfkiel, executive director for the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators, on being an effective advocate and finding a champion for your cause. Wolfkiel also presented last year.

“I have enjoyed presenting at this annual conference over the last two years,” Wolfkiel said. “Texas HHSC's focus on resilience and self-advocacy is important and sets the tone for service delivery in the state. This conference is one of the largest events of its kind and the diversity of content offered is most impressive.”

There are over 5.3 million people in the U.S. living with a permanent brain injury-related disability, according to the Brain Injury Association of America.

During her presentation, Kelly Lang shared the story of the car accident that resulted in her and her daughter sustaining brain injuries and having to work through the recovery process. “The conference was a wonderful opportunity for me to share my family's journey and how resilience throughout the recovery helped us grow,” Lang said.

The HHS Texas Brain Injury programs provided information on both Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services (CRS) and the Office of Acquired Brain Injury (OABI). The CRS program assists eligible people who have a traumatic brain injury, traumatic spinal cord injury or both function independently in their home and community. OABI’s goal is to help connect people to resources and services, raise awareness and prevent brain injuries. These programs work to provide education to Texans through public information campaigns, helping people find the resources and support they need, and promoting the prevention of brain injuries.

For questions or to request access to the conference videos, email OABI.