This article was updated to reflect the $170,000 grant awarded to Ascension Catholic Church.

Bastrop’s Lost Pines Toyota is one of three dealerships across the country to receive funding for children’s traumatic brain injury, or TBI, research. The $170,000 Toyota Way Forward Fund grant was awarded to the Ascension Catholic Church in March.

The research focuses on increasing awareness of TBI in children who make up over a quarter of the 2.8 million Americans who sustain brain injuries each year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children in rural areas are more likely to die from a TBI due to a delay in receiving TBI-related care.

“The research shows that there is a tremendous need for awareness and equipment in these local economies when it comes to brain trauma,” said Carlos Liriano, owner of the Lost Pines Toyota dealership.

By the numbers

Since January, Dell Medical School student John Lueck from UT Connects has partnered with the Bastrop County Public Health Task Force to research TBI in Bastrop County. Bastrop County sees roughly 1.7 times the number of pediatric TBI-related visits to the emergency room compared to Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, Lueck siad. According to Lueck's research, the majority of child TBI cases in the county are caused by falls.

What’s next?

The dealership is working directly with Bastrop ISD to decide the best action for the funds going forward. Informing children and their parents about TBI is the first step, Liriano said.

“We are working on finding a way to educate students about this trauma and also the parents about the incident, and ultimately take it to another level and educate the city,” Liriano said.