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Brain Injury Week 2017 - A New Me

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Action for Brain Injury Week 2017 runs from 8th – 14th May, and this year, those living with a brain injury are being put at the heart of the campaign.  Headway,  The Brain Injury Association, has announced that the theme of their awareness campaign will be ‘A New Me’.  The organisation is inviting people to creatively share their experiences to challenge misperceptions of brain injury, while demonstrating the value of having access to the right help, at the right time[1].

IBB Claims is proud to continue its long tradition of supporting Action for Brain Injury Week and will be writing a series of articles over the coming months illustrating how support, courage and determination can help victims of brain injury move towards a brighter future.

The challenges faced by brain injury victims

Imagine suffering from a sudden traumatic brain injury.  You are still you, but so much that you once took for granted about your emotions, personality, skills, memory, and cognitive abilities may have completely changed.

You now have the challenge of getting to know and develop a new you.

The emotions and personality changes sometimes faced by brain injury victims

In 2006, Grand Tour (and former Top Gear) presenter, Richard Hammond suffered a traumatic brain injury when he crashed a high-speed car during filming.  He has admitted that after the accident he suffered from depression, mood swings, paranoia and often could not control his emotions.  He overcame these challenges with the help of his supportive family and extensive rehabilitation.

A traumatic brain injury can change the way a victim feels and expresses emotion.  This can be particularly hard for the family of the person who sometimes feel like they are treading on eggshells around their loved one. It can be like learning to love a stranger[2].

Damage to specific parts of the brain such as the frontal and temporal lobes, amygdala and hippocampus can result in mood swings, lack of impulse control, verbal and physical aggression and agitation[3].  But even if these areas of the brain have not been severely damaged, the victim may still experience intense feelings of frustration and anger about what has happened to them and how their life has changed, sometimes irreversibly.

What makes it especially hard for families is often the person who has suffered the traumatic brain injury is unaware of their personality change and the effect their behaviour has on other people.

Brain injuries can also result in drug abuse, depression and anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Cognitive impairment and traumatic brain injury

In 2011, US congresswoman, Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Gifford was shot in the head outside an Arizona supermarket.  Miraculously she survived the assassination attempt but suffers paralysis on much of her right side, struggles with speech and has impaired vision[4].  However, she is improving all the time and hopes one day to return to politics.

The cognitive impairment that a person suffers following a traumatic brain injury depends on the exact part of the brain that has been affected.  Challenges can manifest themselves in a number of ways, including having difficulties with[5];

  • Attention and concentration
  • Processing and understanding information
  • Memory
  • Communication
  • Planning, organising, and assembling
  • Reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, and judgment

Rehabilitation and support from organisations such as Headway can make all the difference to how well a person recovers.  If the brain injury was suffered due to the negligent acts or omissions by a person or organisation, claiming compensation can help meet the costs of treatment and take the pressure off family members, particularly the primary wage earner.

Action for Brain Injury Week provides an opportunity for victims and their supporters to demonstrate how brain injuries can be overcome and how victims can rebuild their lives and make a valuable contribution to society.  In an interview with CNN, Gabby Gifford admitted she experienced moments of frustration but insisted she was mostly optimistic and not resentful.

"No. Move ahead," she said, "Move ahead."

Could you obtain compensation for a head or brain injury?

At IBB, our personal injury team, led by lawyer and brain injury expert, Malcolm Underhill, has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and wish to claim compensation for the injury and the treatment, rehabilitation and home adaptations required.  To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk  or fill in our contact form.  Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence.

 

[1] https://www.headway.org.uk/news/national-news/a-new-me-abi-week-theme-announced/

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/professor-cromer-learns-read/201203/after-brain-injury-the-dark-side-personality-change-part-i

[3] Ibid

[4] http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/09/politics/giffords-health/

[5] http://www.msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Cognitive-Problems-After-Traumatic-Brain-Injury

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