March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month – Part II
Understanding TBI is a crucial element to helping survivors recover to the extent possible and live a full life with an injury that should be viewed as a chronic disease. We offer insights and practical suggestions.
March is Brain Injury Awareness month. Each year, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) organizes a special campaign which aims to educate the public about brain injury and the needs of those affected by it. In support of this campaign, Ron Bell Injury Lawyers have dedicated two blogs this month to a discussion of issues related to traumatic brain injury. In our last blog on the topic, we explored the rate of brain injury prevalence in the U.S. We also presented general medical definitions and an overview of the types of TBI. In this article we will focus on the impact TBI can have on a person’s life as well as on the practical ways in which friends and family can help survivors after their injury.
The human brain is an extraordinarily sophisticated and delicate organ that can be hurt in a virtually infinite variety of ways. No two brain injuries are alike. Nevertheless, sustaining even a mild brain injury can have drastic effects on a person’s cognition, personality, and psychology. The following quotes from TBI survivors offer a unique insight of the challenges of life with a brain injury:
I suffer from constant vertigo and dizziness. I am up and down emotionally like a roller coaster. I am exhausted beyond comprehension. I grab for words that seem to have disappeared into thin air. My personality has changed, and I am aware of my mood swings. I have anxiety and panic attacks. (Amy Zellmer, an award-winning speaker and author who sustained a mild TBI after slipping on an icy driveway)
I used to be very extroverted and love talking to people. I’ve become much more introverted. It’s gotten better, but I’ll be at a party and suddenly I’m like, I have to go. I can’t even say goodbye because I’m going to explode into tears. It’s weird and it messes with you on a very deep level. (Ella Boureau, an NYC-based writer, editor, events curator who suffered a mild TBI in a car accident)
The experiences quoted above teach us at least two things. The first is that, even though a traumatic brain injury can have dramatic consequences on a person’s life, their struggle often remains invisible to all but their closest friends and family. Second, despite all the challenges and struggles, people with brain injury can recover to a great extent and lead very productive and satisfying lives. However, if you know someone who has sustained a traumatic brain injury, you can do much to help them reach that point.
How Can You Help?
If a friend or a family member has recently sustained a traumatic brain injury or if they are still struggling with the symptoms even though considerable time has passed since the accident, you can be of enormous help to them simply by looking for practical ways to assist them. Amy Zellmer, the author and TBI survivor mentioned above, offers the following practical suggestions:
- Bring over a meal.
- Bring them groceries or basic household supplies.
- Offer to clean their house.
- Offer to drive them to their doctor appointments.
- Bring them flowers.
- Send a card or care package.
- Watch their kids for a few hours.
It is also important to remember to respect the dignity of a TBI survivor at all times. After all, as BIAA puts it, “a person with a brain injury is a person first”. Therefore, avoid expressions that undermine their injury or struggles. Rather, look for ways you can acknowledge them and help the survivor in the recovery process.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
An accident that results in traumatic brain injury is often the result of negligent or reckless behavior on the part of another person. Such accidents may include motor vehicle crashes or workplace accidents or may be related to negligent management of premises. In any case, a victim who acquired traumatic brain injury in any of those circumstances may be entitled to financial compensation. Such compensation usually covers medical costs, loss of income, and some types of non-monetary losses and be of great help when faced with the costly realities of recovering from such a serious injury.
If you or a family member has sustained a brain injury as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another person or a group, please do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney. The law protects your right to compensation in such cases, and a good attorney can make all the difference in getting what you are entitled to.