September is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can happen to anyone. In the past few years, we have heard much about TBI in high school and college athletes. As a matter-of-fact, when the experts tell us the most dangerous sports for young people to engage in, the main way that is determined is by the number of neck and brain injuries per capita. The last list we saw showed that soccer and cheer leading were the most dangerous of high school sports, and for good reason: falls which include serious head injuries can be severe.
As you can see by our graphic, the type of symptoms could very well be different for people who suffer from TBIs. Since different parts of the brain regulate different things connected to our bodies, it would depend on the location of the brain that becomes injured. For example, if someone seriously injures their frontal lobe, they may experience problems with making rational decisions or problems with speaking. On the other hand, someone who injures their temporal lobe may find it difficult to remember things or understand the language they grew up speaking. Increasingly, we hear stories of people who experience an accident who don’t even know they have a brain injury until they start experiencing obvious challenges that they didn’t before, and when they start describing those issues with their health care provider, tests are done to see if there is an actual problem connected to the accident.
A recent study done by a team lead by Dr. Nakase-Richardson also showed that the majority of TBIs suffered by civilians are characteristically different from the majority of those experienced by military personnel and veterans. Their team have found, in part, that civilians suffer TBIs mainly caused by falls; whereas, military and veterans suffer more TBIs associated with violence and traumatic events. It makes us wonder if the trauma veterans experienced aggravates anxiety and possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in addition to the difficulties created by the brain injuries. It would be interesting to further the Nakase-Richardson study by looking at brain injuries suffered by our other heros, our first responders, firefighters, crisis intervention teams, and police officers.
EdWellCo offers a 16-hour Traumatic Brain Injury course created by the VA for local TBI sufferers intended to educate those who are suffering and their caretakers. If you know someone in Indiana who needs our TBI educational program, please contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.