Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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2020 Scarecrow Classic
​Virtual Brain Challenge Series
October 17th through
November 14th
The 2020 Scarecrow Classic Virtual Brain Challenge Series be held from October 17, 2020 through November 14, 2020. 

This Virtual event, hosted by the Brain Injury Association of Maryland (BIAMD) will rally survivors, families, friends, and supporters around the common goal of raising awareness about brain injury within the community and providing much needed funding to support the programs and initiatives of BIAMD.


A virtual CHALLENGE is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym, as part of your therapy, or on the track (or even at another race). You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself. And your medal and technical t-shirt will be shipped directly to you.


  • Register for the Scarecrow Classic Virtual Brain Challenge Series before November 13, 2020

  • Complete a 1 Mile Run/Walk, 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K (6.2 miles) at your convenience any time and anywhere before November 14, 2020. 

  • Celebrate your accomplishment by emailing us your time, distance, and a photo with the medal or t-shirt and share on social media using the hashtag #ScarecrowBrainChallenge2020

Every entry gets you an All New 2020 Scarecrow Classic Virtual Brain Challenge TECHNICAL tee that you’ll love to wear with pride,
new for the Brain Challenge Series, 
ALL runners will receive a Scarecrow Classic Finisher Medal
the FIRST piece of a 5 piece Brain Challenge Medal. 
This year the piece will be the FRONTAL LOBE. 


Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
For decades, both the research and medical communities have relied on neuroimaging tools like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to give them a window into the living human brain. Such scans have provided unprecedented insights into the brain’s structure and function – and the field, as a whole, has used this technique to better understand how the brain gives rise to thoughts, emotions, and actions. But as neuroimaging technology has advanced, so have the different analysis tools and the number of ways one can evaluate the resulting data. Now, the results of unique research project, the Neuroimaging Analysis, Replication, and Prediction Study (NARPS), suggest that different analyses can lead to strikingly different results from the same data set.

Russell Poldrack, a cognitive neuroscientist at Stanford University and a strong proponent of reproducibility in science (the ability to replicate published studies and get the same results) is no stranger to testing the limits of commonly used neuroscience techniques (See Making the Connectome Personal: One Brain, Many Scans). So, when a group of economists contacted him; his former student Tom Schonberg, now at Tel Aviv University; and Thomas Nichols at Oxford University about how to predict whether a particular neuroimaging study would be replicable, he was intrigued.

“There have been several large-scale replication analyses in the field of psychology, but we weren’t sure how to do that with neuroimaging, given the expense and other limitations,” he said. “We spent some time thinking about what we could do. Ultimately, we decided that, instead of trying to replicate a bunch of studies, we could take one dataset and see how reproducible the analysis outcomes were. The big question being, if you analyze data in different ways, would you get different results?”

CLICK HERE to find out the answer to this unique question.

Brain Injury Fundamentals is an all-new training and certificate program designed to address the unique needs and challenges of those who care for or encounter individuals with brain injury. This includes non-licensed direct care staff persons, facility staff, family members and friends, first responders, and others in the community.

The training course covers essential topics such as:
  • Cognition
  • Guidelines for interacting and building rapport
  • Brain injury and behavior
  • Medical complications
  • Safe medication management

We offered this course in June and had twice as many participants as we expected. We are now offering a New Round of Training beginning in October

  • Thursday, October 8th from 9am-12pm
  • Thursday, October 22nd from 9am-12pm
  • Thursday, October 29th from 9am-12pm
  • Thursday, November 5th from 9am-12pm

Questions? Send them to Associate Director, Caitlin Exline Starr at
Group Check-In Chat
from Noon to 1pm.

Please CLICK HERE to sign up using our online registration.

Once we receive your registration, we will send you the link.

We hope to "see" you there!
We are witnessing mandated social isolation and social distancing on an epic scale. As part of BIAMD's interest in serving Maryland's Brain Injury Community, we are starting what we call "Check-In Chats".

We would like to "check in" with anyone looking to share their experiences and challenges with either an individual or in a social group setting.

Even though we can't meet in person, there are many ways open to us, and, if you are interested, we would like to hear from you about your needs and how we can help you feel more connected.

The thought of going to a funeral used to terrify me. Walking into a room filled with sadness and grief evoked an intense desire not to go. Anxiety was all I could feel as it masked the emotions I wanted to have, like sadness and compassion. I secretly felt ashamed that I didn’t have “the right feelings."
It was not death itself that bothered me, it was being in the presence of sadness and grief. Why did sadness make me so anxious? Why did it turn me into a vibrating, heart-pounding, emotional mess, uncomfortable in my own skin?
I later came to understand that I felt pressure to fix sadness: to say or do just the right thing. I thought I was supposed to cheer up the person suffering, as though they had a problem to be solved. Eventually, I figured out that I could not fix someone’s sadness. Yet, the visceral pressure to fix it didn’t go away and neither did my anxiety.

Sadness is a core emotion evoked when we experience loss. When a core emotion arises, it needs validation and to flow. If we push emotions down, the energy they hold gets blocked. Blocked emotions hurt us. Blocked emotions put stress on our mind and body, eventually causing symptoms like depression, anxiety, ruminations, high blood pressure, stomach problems and more
To let emotions flow, we need to feel safe enough to experience them. Learning what to expect when experiencing an emotion helps make the experience more manageable, less scary and even less painful. Feeling connected to another person with whom we feel safe and comfortable is another important factor that helps make emotions bearable. I didn’t know any of these things when I was younger. And why would I? Our culture doesn't teach us what we need to know about emotions. 

CLICK HERE to check out Hilary Hendel's observations.
HobbleJog Foundation (HobbleJog), in partnership with Brain Education Strategies Technology (BEST), is establishing a pilot iOS app training to help 10 young adults with brain injuries return to school or the workforce. HobbleJog is inviting potential recipients to apply for this beneficial program.

Thanks to a grant from the HobbleJog Foundation, BEST will provide each selected participant with the following:

1. The BEST Suite App to address common challenges in executive function:

  • PaceMyDay to help plan each day and learn to manage energy and fatigue
  • ReachMyGoals to set, monitor, and accomplish SMART goals
  • StrategizeMyLife to document and track strategy use and efficacy; and
  • CompleteMyToDos to monitor and complete tasks

2. Online cognitive and app training

3. Three 30-minute online cognitive and app coaching sessions


Email or call 410-975-9752.

ONLINE Brain Injury Support Groups

CLICK HERE to find a list of Brain Injury Support Groups Currently Meeting ONLINE.
Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash
I was diagnosed with PTSD as a teenager after experiencing frequent nightmares and flashbacks.

Now, as a young adult, I don’t experience nightmares as often as I once did thanks to therapy, but I still have flashbacks every now and then. Like a few weeks ago, when I had a flashback while trying to fall asleep. I teared up, then full-on cried. My heart was racing, and I felt panicky. As I wiped away tears and curled up in a ball underneath my blankets, I kept telling myself, “I am safe.” 

The first therapist I worked with encouraged me to find a safe place to picture when I feel this way. That night, I chose the upstairs living room of the Pink house of The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia. I was in treatment for my eating disorder there as a teenager and was a patient over the winter holidays. I picture the Christmas tree all lit up in the living room, and me looking out the window at the snow on the ground while warmly wrapped up in a blanket inside.  

For trauma survivors, feeling safe is very important. Most of us have experienced moments when we were not safe emotionally or physically. We may be constantly thinking there is danger that could occur just around the corner. We may be fearful of trusting others. To live healthy lives, we must be able to work through trauma, ideally in therapy, to establish safety in a healing way. We must take back the power from the situations that have harmed us.
I’ve done a lot of trauma work over the years with my therapist. She would have me write about my trauma for a few minutes — speaking it outright felt too scary — and I would read to her the things I felt comfortable sharing. We would then go over my emotions and reactions regarding what I wrote. If I felt ashamed or felt like a traumatic event that happened to me was my fault, she would help me reassess and affirm that it wasn’t. 

CLICK HERE for more Lexie Manion's story.
CLICK HERE for more information about the the services, resources, and connections you can make with through the Maryland Coalition of Families.
2) What We are Reading This Week
Award-winning journalist Vicki Mayk raises a critical question for football players and their communities: does loving a sport justify risking your life? This is the insightful and deeply human story of Owen Thomas—a star football player at Penn, who took his own life when he was 21, the result of the pain and anguish caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

It was Owen’s landmark case which demonstrated that a player didn’t need years of head bashing in the NFL, or even multiple sustained brain concussions, to cause the mind-altering, life-threatening, degenerative disease known as CTE. And Owen’s case could not have come to light without Dr. Ann McKee, the neuropathologist who bucked conventional wisdom, and the football establishment, as she examined Owen’s brain and its larger significance, building an ever-stronger case that said, at the very least, football should not be played by children under the age of 14.

With its focus on a single life and the community touched by it—Owen’s family, his teammates and friends, his teachers and coaches, and, later, Dr. McKee—Growing Up on the Gridiron explores the place of football in our lives. It doesn’t make a heavy-handed argument to abandon the sport. Rather, it explores why football matters so deeply to many young men, and why they continue to take risks despite the evidence of serious, long-term harm.

CLICK HERE for more on this book.
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

Have you ever clicked on the pictures posted at the end of every #5ThoughtsFridays? Try it. You might learn something fun!


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 Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.