Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) that would provide State funding for community-based services that support and advocate for individuals affected by brain injury has been approved by the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee.
Sen. Anthony Bucco’s legislation provides State funding for community-based services that support and advocate for individuals affected by brain injury. (U.S. Army photo)
“Our understanding of the great impact that brain injury can have on the lives of people of all ages has increased tremendously in recent years,” said Bucco. “Still, we have much to learn about the role that everything from concussions to traumatic brain injuries play in long-term health and care needs. It’s imperative that skilled organizations have the resources they need to effectively advocate and care for New Jerseyans who have suffered brain injuries.”
Under current law, the State maintains the “New Jersey Brain Injury Research Fund” for the purpose of making grants for brain injury research projects at qualified research institutions approved by the New Jersey State Commission on Brain Injury Research.
The fund collects approximately $3.5 million annually through the imposition of a supplementary $1 payment on every fine and penalty imposed on motor vehicle traffic violations in New Jersey.
Bucco’s legislation, S-3189, would dedicate a minimum of $140,000 annually from the fund for community-based services provided by a statewide not-for-profit with at least 25 years’ experience related to supporting and advocating for individuals affected by brain injury.
Those community-based services may include advocacy, education, information, resources, outreach, and support services.
Further, the bill provides that the alliance receiving these funds will actively raise awareness of the brain injury research activities and findings of the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research.
“We need to do a better job of raising awareness of brain injury and what we’ve learned about potential risk factors and new treatments,” added Bucco. “That’s what this effort is intended to do.”
Bucco has worked for years to address brain injury in New Jersey.
In July, Governor Christie signed his legislation designating the third Friday in September as Concussion Awareness Day.
In 2012, Bucco was honored by the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey for his work to pass New Jersey’s law requiring children under the age of 18 to wear ski helmets in an effort to prevent sports related brain injuries.
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