Traumatic Brain Injuries can happen as a result of a car accident, slip and fall accident, sporting accident or in any manner that causes direct trauma to the brain.
In recent times, head injuries and brain injuries have been in the news. There is an increased awareness towards the sporting world and concussions and head injuries. Take what happened to Sidney Crosby: he suffered two serious blows to the head in January 2011 and is still experiencing post concussion symptoms. In order for him to make a full NHL comeback, he has to be symptom free for a 10 day period.
The year 2011 also brought increased awareness of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in major sports. Enforcers in the NHL like Bob Probert and Reggie Fleming and NFL star Dave Duerson all donated their brains to science and were found to have CTE. The study is being conducted at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University. All men suffered from concussions and head injuries.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that appears that results in behaviors and symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s. CTE is caused by repeated trauma to the brain.
Brain injuries, often referred to as the invisible epidemic, are devastating. A brain injury is potentially one of the most devastating disabilities due to the complexity of the brain.
The Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA), publishes newsletters every quarter, and their December 2010 newsletter featured an article about the Impact of a Brain Injury (newsletters are available to download off the OBIA website).
The following is a list of Cognitive Changes that can arise as a result of a Brain Injury:
Memory Problems: The most common way that memory is affected is short-term memory loss.
Inflexibility: People with a brain injury can have difficulty changing their train of thought, may tend to repeat themselves or have trouble with other people’s points of view. Brain injury survivors also may not cope very well with sudden changes in routine.
Impulsivity: Brain injury survivors can be very impulsive because they may have lost the ability to control their impulses and to stop and think before taking action.
Irritability: Another effect of a brain injury is a low tolerance for frustration and the ability to lose one’s temper easily. As well, feelings of paranoia and suspicion can also arise.
Self-Centredness: Brain injury survivors are sometimes mistaken for being self-centred because they can be demanding and fail to see other people’s point of view. As a result, resentment can build up from family members and relationships and friendships become strained.
Dependency: One of the possible consequences of self-centredness is a dependency on others. The individual may not like being left alone and may constantly demand affection and/or attention.
Stay tuned for Impact of a Brain Injury- Part II to learn about further cognitive impacts resulting from a brain injury.