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Virginia woman fights to improve response to brain injury

With so many stories focusing on the strength and resiliency of the human body, many people fail to realize and understand how vulnerable and delicate the human brain is. Whether resulting from a car accident, a collision during a sporting event, or a significant fall, a traumatic brain injury often has severe and long-lasting effects on a person's ability to function and thrive in society.

A Virginia woman who suffered a head injury in a serious car accident in 2001 spent much of March working to increase awareness of the needs related to traumatic brain injuries. March is recognized as brain injury awareness month. After the woman's car accident, in which her car flipped several times and she was thrown out the sunroof, the woman had difficulty with a range of tasks, including memory, socialization, balance and processing information.

During her post-accident treatment and recovery, she was shocked to see how little doctors knew about traumatic brain injuries and how few resources were dedicated to helping people who had suffered serious head injuries. Her injury has required her to go on disability and she now lacks eye and dental care.

The experience of this woman highlights some of the difficulties faced by people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. While recovery from physical injury can also be difficult and time-consuming, a brain injury often requires greater long-term care and rehabilitation because of the need to relearn many skills or retrain the brain. Unfortunately, even when specialists and brain injury experts are available, the cost of such treatment and rehabilitation can be greater than many people can afford.

Although some brain injuries are simply accidents, attributable to no one, others are directly the result of someone's negligence or recklessness. This is often true, for example, when a traumatic brain injury results from a car accident or a doctor's failure to appropriately diagnose and treat a head injury. When someone else is at fault for another's brain injury, he or she is liable to pay for the costs incurred and the pain and suffering associated with the brain injury. Compensation can include medical costs, long-term care, and even lost income in situations where the brain injury prevents the injured person from being able to work.

Source: Washington County News, "Abingdon woman wants community to be more aware of traumatic brain injury," Mark Sagel, Mar. 30, 2014

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