20th Anniversary of BSITF

Celebrate with us!

The Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2018!

The 20th Anniversary Luncheon & Awards Ceremony is over - but the photos are being processed and will be featured here and on a new Commission Facebook page that is under construction (in the meantime visit us at Facebook.com/BSITFC ).

Award Recipients for 2018

The Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission presented its 2018 Pathfinder Award to Representative John Carson (R) 46th of Marietta, Georgia for his outstanding leadership to prevent thousands of needless deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving cell phone usage on Georgia highways. The awards presentations were made at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA.

The Chairman of the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission Chase Jones – Carrollton, Georgia remarked that, “Representative Carson’s sponsorship of the “Hand’s Free Georgia Act” will assuredly save thousands of Georgia lives and significantly reduce the number of Georgians who sustain traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries each year. His determination to shepherd this bill through the General Assembly was an outstanding example of our public representatives working to ensure public safety, prevent unnecessary death and injury and ensuring our Georgia roadways are safer permanently. The Commission and I applaud your resoluteness and congratulate you on this important achievement.”

Also receiving awards were Bill Lee who was this year's recipient of the Larry Huggins Memorial Award for his twelve years of service to the Commission as a member of the Advisory committee, Appeals committee and the Finance committee. Our 2018 Outstanding Service Award was given to Connie McCullough-Walden. Connie serves on the Distribution committee that makes all grant recommendations to the Commission. Connie is the Durable Medical Equipment Manager at Shepherd Center. 

The Commission gratefully thanks the citizens and elected officials of the State of Georgia for their support of Georgians who have sustained traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. 

Proactive planning by the General Assembly and Governor’s office along with the passage of the Constitutional Amendment creating the Commission has enabled grants distribution of over $24 million dollars in the form of directed funding for the post-acute care and rehabilitation of our residents impacted by traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.

I want to thank everyone at the commission for everything you all have done for me.

Not for just awarding me the grant, but for giving me my independence back. Words cannot express the gratitude I have.

Thank you all and God bless!” – LaQuan Taylor


BSITFC Historical Timeline



- Brain Injury Association of Georgia board member David Goudelock chairs a

legislative committee to lobby for the creation of a Brain and Spinal Injury Trust

Fund to provide financial assistance for Georgians who have sustained traumatic

brain and/or spinal cord injuries.



- A coalition of organizations, individuals, and other grassroots organizers involved in the brain and spinal injury community begin helping lobby the Georgia

legislature for the creation of the Trust Fund.

- Opinion polls show overwhelming public support for the creation of a Trust Fund

from a DUI surcharge.




- In accordance with SB 110, the General Assembly creates the Brain and Spinal

Injury Trust Fund, ratified by an overwhelming 73% of voters in a referendum

during the November general elections.

- The General Assembly establishes a 15-member Authority (later called the

Commission) to act as the Trust Fund’s board of directors.



- In April, a 10% surcharge on DUI fines begins to fund the Trust Fund.

- In December, the first Authority members are sworn in by Governor Roy Barnes.



- On June 22-23, the Authority holds its first meeting at Roosevelt Warm Springs,

in Warm Springs, GA. They hear keynote speaker Charlie Priest talk about

experiences with the Alabama Trust Fund, and they make plans for moving

forward with the Authority’s work.

- SB 480 is passed, correcting an unintended flaw in the original Trust Fund

legislation, and ensuring all courts in Georgia contribute the surcharge on DUI

fines to the Trust Fund.




- Bylaws for the Authority and distribution policies for the Trust Fund are drafted in November.

- The legislature appropriates $150,000 to the Trust Fund for administrative

support and implementation.



- SB 364, signed by Governor Barnes in May, changes the Authority to a


- On October 1, the application process is officially opened for the first time.

- The first Trust Fund distributions to 64 applicants were approved on Dec.17.



- Beginning its first year of full-time operation, the Commission travels to nine cities to gather input from individuals, care givers, advocates, and service partners on the most effective uses for the Trust Fund.

- The Department of Community Health requests the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission to assume the role of Lead Agency for TBI services in

Georgia. The Commission expands the role to include SCI services as well.

- In October, the Commission begins to accept applications on an ongoing basis

rather than according to pre-set deadlines, streamlining the review and approval

process for a completed application to 6-8 weeks.

- In November, the Commission partners with the Brain Injury Resource

Foundation to host the first TBI Summit for leaders of the brain injury support

community, held in Norcross, GA.

- The Trust Fund awards $810,655 to its first recipients during its first year of full-

time operation.



- The Commission begins administrative management of the Georgia Central

Registry for Traumatic Brain and Spinal Injuries, in accordance with SB 582, and

identifies 45,000 new traumatic injuries, compared with 2,400 identified the year

before under the previous administration. 

- The Trust Fund awards $1,061,742 to 252 recipients.



- Within one year of the Commission’s management of the Central Registry, more than 51,000 new incidences of traumatic injury are identified.

- The University of Georgia’s Institute on Human Development and Disability

(IHDD) makes recommendations on the most effective use of the Trust Fund

dollars in Georgia, based on their year-long independent study that began in

2004. All of their recommendations support the ongoing work and policies of the

Commission, and are subsequently used to develop new policies.

- The Commission awards almost $2 million ($1,978,861) to 523 recipients, and by June of 2005 the total awards given through the Trust Fund reach the $3.5

million mark.



- The Commission adopts a new mission statement, encompassing the enlarged

scope of the organization, and renewing its dedication to being guided by people

with traumatic injuries.

- In September, the Commission holds its first SCI Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thirty-three leaders from the SCI support community enjoyed the chance to learn

more about providing and receiving support for SCI, as well as meeting other

individuals in the support community.

- The General Assembly appropriates $3 million to the Commission.

- The Commission receives a $100,000 federal grant to support the Central Registry and the Advisory Committee.



- More than 2,000 Georgians have received $8.8 million in Trust Fund awards in

the Commission’s five years of disbursements.

- The Commission’s Annual Meeting in Columbus, GA recognized the Columbus Support Group of the Brain Injury Association of Georgia with a Pathfinder Award for their outstanding advocacy in the brain injury community.

- The Commission issued its Neurobehavioral White Paper “Georgia’s Neurobehavioral Crisis: Lack of Coordinated Care, Inappropriate Institutionalizations”.

- The Commission funds the state-wide Information and Resource facilitator position for the Brain Injury Association of Georgia.

- The Commission hires a Stewardship Coordinator to facilitate advocacy, awareness, communication, education and marketing for Georgians with TBI and SCI.



- The Commission marks 10 years of service to Georgia with a celebration at Shepherd Center that recognized the hard work, sacrifice and perseverance of advocates, businesses, Commissioners, committee members, families, law makers, non-profits, staff, state agencies and volunteers.

- The Commission has funded 3111 awards worth $11,040,250 in ten years.

- Pathfinder Awards were awarded to Senator Don Thomas, Senator Ronnie Chance and to Ben Fuller and the Fuller family for outstanding contributions to the disability community.

- The Commission prepared and issued a formal state-wide needs assessment and ten-year state action plan for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury in 2008.

- The Commission authorizes the position of State Action Plan Coordinator to implement the Commission’s new state plan.

- The Georgia State Senate passed Senate Resolution 788 to authorize a Senate Study Committee to review and make resolutions regarding Brain Injury-Related Neurobehavioral Issues in Georgia.

- The Commission signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Department of Community Affairs to manage home modifications for Trust Fund grantees in 2008.



- The Commission provided TBI screening and identification training to Georgia’s Aging and Disability Resource Connections Gateway/ESP staff beginning in 2009.

- The Commission created a new electronic database for all grantee records in 2009.

- The Commission awarded the 2009 Pathfinder Award to Susan Johnson BSITF Commissioner, Advocate and Director of Brain Injury Services at Shepherd Center and to former Chairman of the Commission Rusty Kidd at the annual meeting in Milledgeville, GA

- Central Registry data shows that annually, over 57,000 Georgians are now treated in a hospital emergency department or admitted to a hospital for a traumatic brain injury - an increase of over twenty-six percent from 2004.



- The Commission’s legislation was amended by a statute sponsored by Rep. Rusty Kidd to allow the Commission to engage in fund-raising activities in Georgia – signed by Governor Perdue in May 2010.

- The Commission provided technical assistance regarding TBI and SCI to the Governor’s Olmstead Committee.

- The Commission continues to provide annual funding for the Brain Injury Association of Georgia’s TBI Camp.

- The Commission hires a full-time State Action Plan Coordinator to direct the Commission’s state plan for TBI and SCI systems of care.

- The Commission executes a state-wide concussion prevention education campaign with partners from the CDC and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

- The Commission awards the 2010 Pathfinder Award to Cindi Johnson of Side by Side Clubhouse in Stone Mountain, GA for her outstanding contributions to Georgians with traumatic brain injury.

- The Commission has funded 3,668 awards worth $14.8 million at the end of fiscal year 2010.



- The legislature creates the Department of Public Health and the Commission is administratively attached to Public Health.

- The Commission’s Advisory committee and State Action Plan coordinator undertake a series of town hall meetings to educate and to hear the public’s recommendations for managing concussion in youth sports.

- the Commission’s Advisory committee establishes the Georgia Concussion Coalition and recruits over seventy members from continuum of care providers plus professionals and those receiving concussion treatment.

- Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa and Dave Zilles receive the Commission Pathfinder Award.



 - The Commission’s Central Registry reports over 70,000 TBI’s in the state of Georgia.

- Town Hall meetings culminate with a symposium at Shepherd Center to discuss effective concussion identification, incidence and treatment protocols.

- The Georgia Return to Play Act of 2012 is introduced in the legislature but does not pass due to uncertainty regarding its impact on youth sports participation.

- Ray Lerer, Esq. retires as the Commission’s long-standing legal counsel from the Attorney General’s office.



- The Georgia Return to Play Act is re-introduced by Rep. Jimmy Pruett in the legislative session and is passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by the Governor. The statute goes in to effect January 1, 2014.

- The Commission’s Pathfinder Award is made to Rep. Jimmy Pruett for his leadership in the passage of the Return to Play Act.

- The Georgia Concussion Coalition organizes in preparation of seeking non-profit organization status.

- The Commission makes 242 awards worth $1.34 million in FY2013.



- Rep. Kevin Tanner introduces HR1183/HB870 legislation that would add an additional surcharge on convictions of reckless driving to the Commission. The measure must be in the form of a constitutional amendment approved by the voters in the general election. The measure passes by over 69 percent voter approval thanks to the efforts of The Brain Injury Association of Georgia and advocates across the state.

- Rep. Kevin Tanner receives the Commission’s Pathfinder Award for his commitment and leadership of this legislative effort.

- The Commission makes 271 awards worth $1.62 million in FY2014.



- The CDC makes changes to the definition of concussion and the Commission identifies 25,000 Georgians with TBI. This change reduces the number of reported TBI’s in Georgia by the Central Registry by 66 percent.

- The new Reckless Driving surcharge goes in to effect on January 1, 2015.

- The Commission’s surcharge collections for FY2015 is $1.31 million, the lowest since 2001.

- DUI convictions in Georgia drop from 41,000 in 2010 to 28,000 in 2015.

- The Commission reaches $20 million in grants awarded to Georgians for their post-acute care and rehabilitation.

- The Georgia Concussion Coalition joins the Brain Injury Association of Georgia.



- Commission Chairman Joseph Frazier is recognized by the Georgia House of Representatives in a proclamation thanking him for his long service to the Commission and to the people of Georgia.

- The Commission presents the 2016 Pathfinder Award to JD Frazier for his long standing role as a peer visitor and advocate and also for outstanding contributions to the Commission and the state of Georgia.

- The Governor appoints Chase Jones of Carrollton, GA as the new Commission Chairman.




- The Commission launches its new website https://bsitf.georgia.gov built by Digital Services Georgia. The new website has incorporated the latest in ADA compliant features.

- The Commission has awarded over $23 million dollars to Georgians with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

- The Pathfinder Award for 2017 is presented to Stephanie Lotti for her outstanding contributions to the State of Georgia and the Commission.



- Governor Nathan Deal appoints the Commission as Georgia’s Lead Agency for Traumatic Brain Injury.

- The Commission is awarded the Federal Traumatic Brain Injury grant ($675,000) for a three-year period to improve screening and identification, information and referral, partnerships, and outreach for the state of Georgia.

- 100 percent of completed grant applications to the Commission are funded by the Commission and approved by the Governor’s office.

- The Commission celebrates “20 Years of Trust” with an Awards Luncheon at Shepherd Center in November.

- Representative John Carson receives the 2018 Pathfinder Award for leadership that results in the creation of the “Hand’s Free Georgia Act”.






Paralysis Resource Guide

March 19, 2019

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation have updated their Paralysis Resource Guide. The guide is free and available for download in multiple formats.

Trust Fund Awards Change Lives!

LaQuan Taylor, a recently discharged U.S. Navy veteran was the victim of a violent armed robbery and shot multiple times.

LaQuan was diagnosed with an incomplete T12 thoracic spinal cord injury and received a grant for a modified vehicle to resume his education and obtain employment.

Events Schedule