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The Aftermath Of a TBI

A TBI is a common injury and may be missed initially when the medical team is focused on saving an individual’s life. The two different classifications of TBIs, mild and severe, both have lasting side effects that can impede on the injured victim’s life. A mild TBI is diagnosed when the patient has a loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation that is shorter than 30 minutes. Some known lasting effects include cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. While these injuries are commonly overlooked, the effect of TBIs on the family and the injured person can be overwhelming.

An individual will be categorized as a severe brain injury victim when the specific injury is associated with loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and memory loss after the injury or penetrating skull injury is longer than 24 hours. The range of deficit goes from impairment of higher level cognitive functions to comatose states. Some potential impairments may include limited functions of legs or arms, abnormal speech or language, loss of thinking ability or emotional problems.

For many people with mild or severe TBI, long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence. A change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social and community interaction [1].

Impact on the Brain

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of hospitalizations for traumatic brain injury in people 15 through 44. They’re the leading cause of trauma death for children and young adults ages 5-24. Additionally, in a 2006 study that was done at the Atlantic National Center for Injury Prevention and Control showed that out of the 1.4 million Americans who are reported to have sustained a traumatic brain injury, 280,000 of them receive a motor vehicle induced traumatic brain injury every year. About 20% of all brain damage is motor vehicle related and constituted as the second largest method–the leading cause is falling, which accounts for 28%. Regardless, the traffic accident brain damage accounts for the greatest number of hospitalizations.

The brain is virtually floating within the skull, so when the head is bounced around in a motor vehicle accident, the brain will not just sit there. It will smash into the walls of its cage, becoming bruised and torn. When the skull strikes the steering wheel, window, concrete or wreckage the brain will collide against the inside of the skull with much force. After the damage is done, the brain will continue to move after the head has stopped, which then causes the concussion, contusion or other ailment.

While all brain injuries are not created equal, the point of impact in such injuries has a devastating effect on certain functions of the human body that is correlated to the part of the brain that is injured. If the impact is toward the front of the skull, the frontal lobe may be damaged which effects the emotional control system and temporal lobe or the selective attention system. If the injury causes the brain to not only his the front of the skull but to also bounce back and slam against the back of the skull, this can sometimes damage the occipital lobe which is responsible for visual processing [2].

Two Telling Stories

Such was the case for two men from Winter Haven in Polk County. An article published in The Ledger described the aftermath of Beau Wilt and Pete Fellner’s brain injuries as well as how they had to have the persevere to cope.

Two separate vehicle accidents in 2007 to 2008 ensured that both men would have a difficult road ahead of them due to their traumatic brain injuries and major physical damage. Their battles were time-consuming and challenging to their intellect and determination. Both believe that people will TBIs need to have the hope and drive to believe that they can get better; because while their outside wounds can heal, their brain injuries can have lasting effects that do not have a concrete treatment plan.

  • Beau Wilt suffered a traumatic brain injury in a four-wheeler accident in 2008. After his accident, Wilt was in a medically induced coma for seven weeks as it was essential for his recovery. Wilt ended up sustaining broken ribs and torn parts of his back as well as a crushed shoulder joint. When he came out of it, he had speech and memory issues. He said he would mumble when he spoke and that his short-term memory problems had prevented him from continuing his real estate agent career.

While this was his known livelihood, Wilt decided to challenge his brain and become a physical therapy assistant. However Wilt found himself unable to remember the level of medical information needed for classes like physiology so soon after the accident. He eventually got a job transporting patients at Lakeland Regional Health but after doing that for 3 years, he was fortunate enough to get his current job as a sales counselor for Highland Homes. He is also currently studying to regain his real estate license.

  • Pete Fellner suffered a concussion when his motorcycle his a power pole near the Winter Haven airport in 2007. He suffered this injury in spite of wearing a helmet. He lost blood and had strokes, affecting his ability to speak and recall words. His wife said that this “thoughts were there, but they weren’t coming out.”

Fellner was in a nursing center for a month after leaving Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center because he lost four inches of a thighbone and needed corrective surgery to help him sustain normalcy. However, the doctors assured Fellner that his issues would not end with just his outside physical injuries because his brain was also “screwed up”.

That’s when his neurologist told Fellner to challenge is brain by taking a foreign language course. This form of brain activity would help him heal the circuits that needed to heal for his English. He ended up going to the University of Central Florida after the accident, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree, with a focus on computer animation and 3-D modeling, then a master’s degree last year through UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy [3].

Both men credit determination, the emotional support from loved ones and support groups as well as challenging their brains to remember key information. Just like physical therapy for outside injuries, challenging the brain helps to heal the neurotransmitters and circuits in the brain.

Dolman Law Group

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the cognitive or emotional symptoms discussed above, it is imperative that you consult with an experience Florida traumatic brain injury attorney. Furthermore, if you or a loved one have been involved in incidents that caused a blow to the head as a result of the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation, it is important to be treated by a physician familiar with traumatic brain injury so that rehabilitation and recovery is as successful as the two men mentioned above. A traumatic brain injury can have a pronounced effect on your quality of life including the ability to interact with loved ones and friends as well as the ability to work.

For more information on the relationship between a brain injury and an automobile accident or motorcycle accident, please contact the Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900. The attorneys as the Dolman Law Group are experienced and aggressive Florida traumatic brain injury attorneys who are often called upon by their colleagues to co-counsel head injury cases through the state of Florida. If our injury law attorneys can be of any further assistance, do not hesitate to call us immediately for a free case evaluation and consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/brain-injury-attorneys/

References:

[1] http://www.traumaticbraininjury.com/understanding-tbi/what-are-the-effects-of-tbi/
[2] http://www.brainandspinalcord.org/brain-injury/motor-vehicle-accident.html
[3] http://www.theledger.com/article/20151103/NEWS/151109850