TALLAHASSEE, FL--(Marketwire - February 16, 2010) - What do a 9/11 Pentagon Survivor, a retired Mom of two grown children, a college medical professor and a best-selling author all have in common?

They have all seen, experienced and lived up-close-and-personal in the world of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The Florida TBI community will gather in Tallahassee today where it will share, support and inspire. Caregivers, survivors (including a 9/11 Pentagon survivor), medical researchers and those who have chronicled the inside world of TBI will attend an awareness event at the State Capitol sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Florida and the Florida Department of Health.

"Brain injuries affect people of all ages and all walks of life," said Valerie Breen, Executive Director of Brain Injury Association of Florida. "There are 210,000 people in Florida living with a brain injury. The consequence for those who survive and their journey to thrive is our story today. Access to health care, rehabilitation and life long support is key to survivors and their families."

Among the event's panelists and featured guests will be Buzz Bissinger, the award-winning journalist and author who wrote "Friday Night Lights," an honest, real and heartwarming account of big-time high school football in a small-time town. Bissinger was one of the first to shine a light on high-school sports injuries and head trauma, and concussion in particular.

"Concussion can end more than just a game -- it can end a career and even a life," Bissinger explained. "Parents and coaches must help athletes recognize signs and symptoms and make it okay to sit out a game or two so they don't have to sit it out forever."

The event will focus equally on those living with TBI as well as ways it can be prevented from occurring in the first place. Triston Sanders, Executive Producer/Anchor at WCTV-Channel 6 (CBS affiliate) will moderate the event. Other distinguished guests include Ana M. Viamonte Ros, Surgeon General of the State of Florida; Frank Toral, President, Brain Injury Association of Florida; Valerie Breen, Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of Florida; Chee-Chee Parker, 9/11 Survivor, TBI survivor, activist; Lester Rice, TBI mother/caregiver, activist; and Jacob W. VanLandingham Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Biomedical Sciences, FSU College of Medicine.

For additional information about the event, please visit ByYourSide.org.

About Brain Injury Association of Florida

Brain Injury Association of Florida (BIAF) is Florida's only statewide non-profit organization dedicated to informing, educating, supporting and advocating for all Floridians who have survived a brain injury and their families. Founded in 1985 by the mother of a young man who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a motor vehicle crash, BIAF's mission is to "improve the quality of life for all persons with brain injury and their families by creating a better future through brain injury awareness, prevention, research, education, support services and advocacy." BIAF is an official state affiliate of Brain Injury Association of America and part of a nationwide network of brain injury associations located throughout the United States. All resources are provided free of charge to persons with brain injury and their families. Family Support Coordinators work in offices throughout the state, providing individualized information, education, support and advocacy for survivors and their families to help them remain in their homes and communities.


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