HELENA – A project a year in the making is finally unmasked and on display at Disability Rights Montana.
The “Unmasking Brain Injury Project” is made up of 20 masks; displayed and decorated by traumatic brain injury survivors.
Creators from Brain Injury Alliance Montana, and Executive Director, John Bigart, hope the masks will bring awareness to people who have suffered a brain injury and the challenges they face.
According to the Brain Injury Alliance, Montana is in the top three in the nation per capita for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). And each month nearly a thousand Montanans will suffer a TBI.
“March is brain injury awareness month, and we felt it was important to give those who suffer from brain injuries as voice; there’s a saying here at Brain Injury Alliance, that ‘a brain injury doesn’t have a face’ unless it’s someone you know, Bigart said.
“There is no cure for brain injuries,” Bigart continued, “Usually by the time they are diagnosed, it’s already too late and this can happen to anyone—we live in a state where there are a lot of consequences; outdoor activities like horseback, snow sports, skiing, you name it and often people can just up-and-get injured and hit their heads if they’re not careful or weren’t wearing a helmet. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
Each mask displayed has a short story of their individuals’ journey and their road ahead to recovery.
“In Helena, you guys have that big VA hospital where the percentage is higher than the general population, especially for veterans. It does not matter if it’s a physical injury, mental illness, suicide, whatever, diagnosed or not, it ends up costing the state a lot more to try and go back and fix the problem rather than taking care of it from the beginning,” Bigart stated.
The Brian Injury Alliance Montana would like anyone who is or knows someone affected by a brain injury, to call their number at 800-241-6442 where Bigart and his team will give resources for those injured and help connect the dots to a healthy recovery.