Life With A TBI

Brain injury Awareness Month is recognized every March by The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) to raise awareness for brain injuries, the severity of brain injuries, and also the toll brain injuries take on the entire family of a person with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The BIAA leads the country in spreading awareness on how TBIs affect a person's life and how completing even the smallest tasks can be a struggle. The BIAA’s mission is very important, since according to their research, every 9 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like the BIAA, in part with TBIs becoming part of everyday conversation due to press like the NFL head injury scandal, knowledge on TBIs is increasing and TBIs are being discussed more often. One example of TBIs gaining national attention is their use as plot points in TV shows.

Source:  Giphy , ABC's  The Fosters

Source: Giphy, ABC's The Fosters

One show that is incorporating TBIs is The Fosters, a popular show that airs on FreeForm. During the show's latest season, one of the characters, 16-year-old Jesus, was involved in an accident and was knocked unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital and ended up in a medically induced coma. It was later revealed that he suffered from a (TBI). The show documented Jesus’ fight with his TBI through multiple rehab centers and through the transition of returning home. The Fosters gives a perfect example of the struggles someone who has sustained a TBI faces. This depiction, though fictional, is in line with the same awareness that the BIAA is trying to raise on the difficulties of TBIs. Giving a character a TBI on the show was not only a major plot twist, but it also educated the show’s demographic of people aged 12-34, who might not have previously known what traumatic brain injuries are.

Although The Fosters is a fictional show, accidents like Jesus’ happen all the time in real life. One real life person living with a TBI is 13-year-old Paul. BrainLine, a national multimedia project that offers information and resources to help people prevent, treat, and live with a TBI, discuss Paul’s story on their blog. Paul was once just like any other kid his age who enjoyed spending time with his family and playing sports outside with his friends. Paul’s whole world was turned upside down after an afternoon of bike riding turned into a car accident. Paul was immediately taken to the hospital following the car crash but was left with life changing injuries. While his TBI wasn’t diagnosed at the ER, TBI symptoms manifested while he was still admitted to the hospital due to car accident injuries. Paul was soon diagnosed with a TBI that left him immobile and in a vegetative state. His recovery was very slow and he fought hard to accomplish things that most people do without even realizing it, like lifting his eyelids, moving a finger, or saying a word. After spending many months in the ICU, Paul was transferred into a TBI rehabilitation hospital. While in the rehabilitation hospital, Paul had to learn how to walk, talk, and do simple everyday tasks all over again.

Detroit Bicycle Car Crash Lawyer

After a long journey in the rehabilitation hospital, Paul was finally able to return home with his family. However, the problems stemming from the car crash TBI weren’t over yet, and Paul’s journey was nowhere near finished. Even after leaving the rehabilitation hospital Paul was still dependent on a wheelchair and walker. His parents still had to assist him with everyday tasks including self care, such as dressing and bathing. The stress level in the house was extremely high, according to Paul’s mom. Paul’s siblings struggled to get used to what they referred to as their “new” brother. Other than the stress of dealing with the TBI itself, Paul’s parents felt very guilty that all of their time was put toward taking care of Paul, and felt like they were neglecting their other children. Eventually, Paul’s parents knew they needed help balancing everyday life and taking care of Paul, so they asked for help whenever they needed it. Paul’s mom said regarding taking care of Paul and his TBI,

“The care giving was both never ending and exhausting. We had to recognize our own limitations, shed any guilt, and ask for help from our community, friends, and family.”

As years passed Paul continued to improve and was eventually able to return to school, but couldn’t do it on his own. BrainLine says that according to his parents, “Paul needed an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) geared toward his specific needs. He underwent a neurophysiology examination, which is concerned with the relationships between brain function and behavior and considers how injury may affect learning, communication, planning, organization, and relationships with others.” A personal aid was offered to Paul by his school to help him keep up with all the other students. He was also given a personal laptop to do assignments on. Graduating high school was a huge accomplishment for Paul, but was only the beginning to many other hard challenges.

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Getting a job and figuring out what he wanted to do after high school was another difficult decision Paul and his parents had to make. Even though Paul had made tremendous improvements, he was still not the same person he was before the car crash. He walks off-balance, his voice is slow and monotone, and he is slightly slower to process information, to form a thought, or to respond to a question. Paul eventually got a job after high school and worked at a local retail store where he started as a greeter, moved up to sales clerk, and then cashier. Ten years after his accident, at the age of 23, Paul is now attending Lesley University where he is studying the Threshold Program in Boston and is living independently. He also volunteers at the hospital that took care of him and speaks about TBIs and the importance of bike and car safety.

Stories like Paul's show that traumatic brain injuries don’t just affect the live of the person suffering from brain trauma, but that a TBI leaves everyone in the family changed for the rest of their lives as well. Paul’s mom shared,

“Despite all the miraculous gains my son has made over the years, my heart often remains heavy. When I look into my husband’s or my children’s eyes, I can still see the lingering fear, the permanent scars.”

Hospitals and the sounds of ambulances have permanently scarred Paul’s parents and siblings. Paul’s mother continued,

“the sound of an ambulance or the sight of a hospital can evoke tears as we relive and experience flashbacks to that unthinkable day of the accident.”

To help people cope with the ways TBIs can disrupt a family’s life, the BIAA offers webinars that people can watch online to educate themselves on all topics related to traumatic brain injuries. Some such topics include up-to-date TBI research, possible TBI treatment options, TBI rehabilitation, and how families can learn to manage living with someone has a TBI.

Whether you are riding a bike or driving a car, you may be at risk of sustaining a TBI. Being knowledgeable about what traumatic brain injuries are and how they affect individuals and families may result in people taking more caution while engaging in physical activities or even driving, in order to prevent traumatic brain injuries from occurring. Traumatic brain injuries like many other car accident injuries not only harm the victim’s health but oftentimes bring up legal burdens for the injured person and their family as well. Our lawyers are experienced in helping families who are struggling with brain trauma handle their legal problems while they focus on their recovery. Call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM to meet with a car accident TBI attorney for a free consultation.

March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

FACT - At least 5.3 million Americans live with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-related disability.

FACT - Everyday, about 137 people die in the U.S. from a TBI-related injury.

FACT - In Michigan, 58,500 will sustain a TBI every year.

These numbers are staggering. And yet, much of the public is undereducated on the topic of brain injuries.

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Well, those who want to learn more about brain injuries are in luck since March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), which is an organization created specifically to speak about and spread awareness of brain injuries, annually leads the nation in commemorating Brain Injury Awareness Month by creating brain injury awareness campaigns. Thethe theme for 2018 - 2020 is "Change Your Mind."

#ChangeYourMind informs the public about what brain injuries are, the prevalence of brain injuries, and of the needs of people with brain injuries as well as their families’ needs. The BIAA also works with the brain injury community to “de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.” The BIAA’s campaign and general brain injury advocacy are necessary to the advancement of science and the human understanding of the most mysterious organ, the brain. The more awareness there is around a subject, the more the public’s thirst for knowledge increases, and subsequently more research is performed to find answers and solutions to the problem millions are facing.

Source: BIAA

Source: BIAA

In the past, the lack of general knowledge on the seriousness of brain injuries and brain injury treatments caused confusion to those who suffered from TBIs. Brain injuries affect day to day living, various social interactions, and short term and long term health. One man who was involved in a head-on car collision shared his TBI story on the BIAA’s website. He suffered a Diffuse Axonal TBI from his car accident and was in a 32 day coma. A Diffuse Axonal TBI occurs when the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers tear when the brain rotates inside the skull. In his own words, “This all took place at a time when very few would survive something like this. Of the 3 people involved, I am the only one who survived. I feel that I was spared for a reason at a time when computers were just a great fantasy, and I was expected to go on in life as if nothing was wrong. By about the 4th termination from employment I began to realize that I wasn’t as ‘fine’ as I was told, BUT, I signed off on the claim in the judge’s chambers in 1977 so there was no way to prove anything until 35 years later I showed a job history which reads like a phone book.”

While not everyone is affected by brain injuries, anyone is susceptible to enduring one, since humans are a very active bunch. From taking a blow to the head in football, to slipping and knocking the noggin on an icy sidewalk, to loss of blood flow to the brain following a brain hemorrhage, there are many ways to fall prey to TBIs. And roughly 14.3% of TBIs are actually sustained in motor vehicle accidents. The Michigan Law Firm, PC helps victims of motor vehicle accidents who have suffered from a TBI. This is why our TBI lawyers are always studying up on the latest brain injury recovery breakthroughs and are keeping informed on the topic of neurocognitive deficits. Our law firm seeks to stay as knowledgeable on brain trauma as possible, so we can better advocate for our car accident clients, which is why we are proud members of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), a BIAA affiliate.

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As active members of BIAMI, The Michigan Law Firm, PC, regularly takes part in BIAMI events. Most notably, we attended the 2017 BIAMI Legal Conference in order to keep updated on and participate in discussions on the legal implications of brain injuries and other closed head injuries as a result of a car crash. In an effort to better support those who have sustained brain injuries, support the research into brain injury therapies, and to learn about new brain injury therapy protocols and diagnostic tests for TBI patients, the firm continues to be an active member of BIAMI. Our brain injury accident attorneys want to be involved in the conversation regarding the rights of treating providers including, but not limited to, neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, therapists, and other brain injury rehabilitation professionals. Most importantly, The Michigan Law Firm, PC wants to help BIAMI and BIAA increase awareness of brain injuries and help advance the world’s understanding of and immediate treatment of brain injuries.

Too keep up-to-date with Change Your Mind, follow #ChangeYourMind on Twitter, or visit the BIAA or BIAMI websites.

 If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury or other serious injury as a result of an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.