What is a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)?
Individuals who suffer from traumatic brain injury often feel alone and isolated. It is usually an injury that cannot be seen much like anyone who has been diagnosed with mental health concerns. However, most traumatic brain injuries are simply brushed aside and are seen as “just a concussion.”
But what is the definition of concussion. The definition of a concussion for the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) states “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury --- or TBI ---caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.” In their own medical definition, they state that a concussion is a TBI. Yet, so many of us are told that it is no big deal! It is just “mild.” What most people don’t understand that a “mild” brain injury is still a brain injury! It can still cause lifelong problems. There is the misconception that having a mild TBI means that you will just have symptoms for a couple weeks, months at most. But that is not true! Depending on where the injury could place, your age, and how you were treated afterwards can have a huge impact on what occurs after your traumatic brain injury.
Most individuals who have suffered through a severe TBI or even a moderate TBI more than likely have been through treatment; whether it is hospitalization, OT (occupational therapy), PT (physical therapy), group home setting, etc. Treatment can be lifelong, continuously or intermittently. But when it comes to being diagnosed with a concussion, you’re usually sent home and told that the symptoms will probably only last a week. No one gives you a heads up that you might notice you can’t remember things very well, you have trouble remembering names, speaking your mind, constant headaches, dizziness, loss of balance, visual impairments, seizures, irritability, not being able to focus, sleep disturbances, etc. And if you do see the doctor again, the medical staff usually tells you that it will subside in a few days. But sometimes it doesn’t!
It is important to be aware that our brains are the most important organ in our body. There are over 100 billion neurons that are housed within our brains and any damage done can cause issues. It is a silent injury for a reason. You cannot tell that someone who does not know your name has a disconnect from their temporal area of the brain. You don’t know that someone who is very blunt doesn’t have the ability to rationally think before speaking due to an injury in their prefrontal cortex.
During the month of March for brain injury awareness, be mindful that the individuals you see may have an injury that is unseen. Don’t forget to wear purple on Thursdays all this month to show recognition of brain injury awareness month.