Feature: Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association
My Town Tuesday is our summer series where we highlight various local nonprofits. We’re writing to shed some light on the local superheroes who make our community great!
This week, I spoke with Lisa Morgan, Executive Director for The Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association (CABIA). Morgan is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who works with the organization to assist anyone who has been impacted by a brain injury, such as a concussion.
CABIA serves people in 15 nearby counties who have suffered a brain injury–whether it be from a car accident, sports, or a job-related injury.
“Our goal is to prevent before, assist after,” said Morgan. “We try to fill in the blanks in a patient’s care and to advocate for them.”
Sometimes this means Morgan attends doctor’s appointments with patients, and sometimes this means Morgan connects patients with resources in the community.
Morgan said the most rewarding part of working with brain injury patients is seeing patients recover and return to the activities they love. She spoke of one patient whose high school graduation she was recently able to attend.
Morgan was also candid about the barriers that exist in helping people to get care. She spoke of the high prevalence of brain injuries within prisons and jails, and of the relationships between brain injury and substance abuse.
“The hardest part is that all brain injuries are different. Some affect a person emotionally, more or less, and some in their processes of thinking and cognition,” Morgan said.
CABIA began 33 years ago and is affiliated with Siskin Hospital. CABIA gets funding from grants as well as from fines that are issued locally for speeding and reckless driving.
“We want to be there at every stage after the brain injury,” Morgan said. “At first, it’s their critical needs. But later, we want to be there to support them emotionally and socially as they begin to heal.”
If you’re interested in getting involved in the work that CABIA is doing, they have a helmet program that provides helmets to children in schools. You can email them for volunteer opportunities, as they are always looking for help with office tasks, marketing, and other fields. Click here to view their site.