Sen. Enzi is ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Each year, approximately 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury, causing significant, often lifelong, and sometimes fatal disability and discomfort. Late last night, the Senate gave unanimous approval to a bill that will boost programs to help people live with the effects of a traumatic brain injury -- the Reauthorization of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act.

The bill, S. 793, will establish a study through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine the incidence and prevalence of traumatic brain injury, identify common therapeutic interventions, and develop rehabilitation guidelines.

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It also calls for a study to determine how soldiers who have acquired a brain injury readjust to civilian life in their communities, examine the extent to which care is coordinated, and provide information about appropriate employment, housing, rehabilitation, and other services.

According to the CDC, of the 1.5 million Americans who sustain a traumatic TBI each year, around 50,000 die and another 80,000 to 90,000 experience long-term or lifelong disabilities as a result. Among children between birth and age 14, there are approximately 475,000 TBIs a year, resulting in some of the highest numbers of injuries among children under the age of five.

The costs associated with having a TBI are high, and this bill will help give people access to the therapies and interventions that are needed by renewing grant programs to coordinate TBI services, and by continuing valuable research programs conducted by the NIH.