The brain is mysterious. We do not yet fully understand the depth of its capabilities, but we do know that it cannot heal itself. Unlike most major organs, the brain does not have the capacity to regenerate any new cells. This means that damaged brain cells will remain damaged for the remainder of a victim’s life. Once brain cells become damaged, the connections between them are permanently severed. This is why a brain trauma victim will literally never be the same person.
Sadly, many familiar brain functions will be completely lost unless the victim learns to perform these functions in completely different ways. And there are no guarantees. Even with access to extensive physical therapy and the best medical treatment, victims are likely to experience life long problems with senses, mobility, emotional and cognitive abilities, and noticeable changes in personality.
Long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries may include:
- Physical Impairment: Physical impairment will require the lifelong use of motorized scooters, walkers, or wheelchairs for mobility.
- Seizures: Uncontrollable seizures can occur immediately after a brain injury or can develop over time, causing involuntary or unusual body movements, the inability to speak or understand speech, and dizziness or exhaustion.
- Communication Issues: Difficulties with speaking, writing, or hearing.
- Cognitive Disabilities: Memory, attention, and executive functioning are notably impaired.
- Behavioral Impairment: The victim will behave differently than they did before the accident. These changes can become extreme enough to make a person unrecognizable to friends and loved ones.
- Spasticity: Changes in muscle coordination, reflexes and tactile sensation can create difficulties with eating, speaking, swallowing, or waste elimination.
- Emotional Trauma: This can be caused by the injury itself, or only made worse by frustrating life changes as a result of the injury.
Brain injuries are especially difficult to assess, or even recognize, because sometimes they will not necessarily show any adverse symptoms until days or weeks after an injury has occurred. Symptoms can also be very subtle, especially if the injury was mild, only further obfuscating a victim’s objectivity regarding the seriousness of their injury. This can be dangerous because some brain injury victims may not seek out timely medical care after suffering an injury, believing it’s nothing to worry about. An example is the football player who takes a helmet to helmet hit, doesn’t realize he’s suffered a brain injury, and continues playing as if nothing happened.
The statistics on traumatic brain injuries in the United States are both objective and alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.4 million
Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury on a yearly basis. Close to 235,000
of these incidents require hospitalization, and 50,000
Whether you believe your brain injury is mild or severe, it’s important that you get checked out at a hospital or by a doctor. Your health and safety must be your first priority after a brain injury, and it’s crucial that you seek out immediate medical care if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms
- Memory Loss.
- Blurred Vision.
- Poor Concentration.
- Sleep Disturbances.
- Behavioral Changes.