As I write this, Meredith McDonald is about halfway through a 1400+ mile rollerblading trip from Florida to Massachusetts. McDonald is making the trip, skating 50 miles per day for a month, to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries and raise funds for BIG Life to expand projects and support groups for TBI-sufferers and their families.
You’ve probably heard quite a bit about traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the news recently: it’s been estimated that up to 40% of retired NFL players have some degree of traumatic brain injury, and the Veteran’s Administration is reassessing 24,000 cases in which patients were evaluated for TBIs by unqualified personnel. But, you needn’t be a professional athlete or a soldier to be affected by traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.7 million Americans suffer from TBIs each year, with about 275,000 of them requiring hospitalization. The aggregate annual cost in medical expenses, lost productivity and other indirect expenses exceeds $60 billion.
Common Traumatic Brain Injury Causes
These injuries may occur in a variety of ways, including falls, car accidents, construction accidents and sports injuries. About 10% of TBIs are the result of intentional assaults.
Meredith’s husband, Nathan McDonald, sustained his injury in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Nathan was wearing a helmet, but his brain injury was nonetheless serious enough that he was hospitalized for three months and required two years of therapy. Although life was radically different post-injury, the McDonald’s were among the more fortunate victims: about 52,000 Americans die each year as a result of traumatic brain injuries.
The Aftermath of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries may be mild, moderate or severe, and within each classification there is a wide range of symptoms and severity of symptoms. In some cases, symptoms diminish over time, while others are long-term. Some of the most common impacts include:
- Impairment of basic cognitive functions, including:
- Retaining newly-learned information
- Slowed thinking
- Slowed or impulsive problem solving
- Confusion in response to changes in routine or overstimulation
- Impairment of executive functions, including
- Planning and coordinating
- Keeping track of time
- Making decisions based on multiple variables
In addition, people suffering from traumatic brain injuries may exhibit:
- Loss of motivation
- Inappropriate behaviors
- Mood swings
- Irritability or aggression
And, of course, a serious head injury often results in long-term pain and suffering in the form of headaches, sensory changes, visual impairment and other afflictions. In some cases, the brain injury may even impact control of other bodily functions.
A TBI may take a toll on a family’s finances, with large and possibly ongoing medical expenses, potential loss of income and the need for additional caretaking or other assistance. But, the cost goes beyond the dollar amount, and includes pain, suffering, loss of self-esteem, damages relationships and increased burdens shifted to other family members.
The McDonalds founded BIG (Brain Injury Group) Life to support brain injury survivors and their families. When injuries are moderate to severe, those families need another type of support as well.
Talk to an Experienced Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act, you shouldn’t have to struggle with the aftermath alone. Contact us as soon as possible to learn more about how we can help you attain the compensation you deserve, so you can set aside financial worries and focus on your future.