Brain Injury- Let’s Talk

Welcome to the first entry on “Neuro Notes”. It is a pleasure to have a venue in which to keep our friends up to date on what we’re doing at Nolan Law Group to add quality to the lives of those it is our mission to serve. We also intend for this to be another way to let you know what’s going on in the field of acquired brain injury. Having spent more than 25 years in the field of rehabilitation nursing, with a focus on acquired brain injury, I continue to be amazed at how little the general public knows about prevention and recognition of a so-called “mild” brain injury.

I just returned from a national leadership meeting of the Brain Injury Association of America and while I was at the airport in San Antonio wearing my “Brain Injury Association of Illinois” jacket, an airport vendor laughed when she said her son had a brain injury. She proceeded to tell me, again in a joking manner, that he was an incorrigible teenager and it must have been because of that fall off a bunk bed when he was eight years old. “Should have taken him to the doctor … never been the same since!” she continued. What concerned me was that she was clearly uncomfortable talking about a “brain injury” but deep down she knew that was the cause of what apparently is a personality change, at the very least, with her son. Encounters like this happen frequently when someone knows I am in the field of brain injury. We are uncomfortable saying the words “brain injury” especially when referring to ourselves or those we love.

We are living in a time when we know so much more about the brain. Our law firm was one of the first to understand how important it is to bring technology into the courtroom to “prove” an injury to a jury. There are answers — diagnostic tools, treatments and resources. There are also many professionals in the field who know and understand the uniqueness that is a brain injury. However, I will be the first to say that there are not enough resources and much more needs to be done. While the numbers of new brain injuries have decreased over the past 25 years with the use of seat belts, helmets, etc., there are still far too many. Consider this – the number of people living in Illinois with disability related to acquired brain injury equals the combined populations of the cities of Champaign and Rockford. Something else to consider — those are just the ones that have been reported.

Through my years of experience as a rehabilitation nurse working with persons with brain injury and other neurological disorders, and through my work as an advocate with the Brain Injury Association of Illinois as well as the Brain Injury Association of America, I hope to make more people more comfortable saying the words “brain injury”. I also hope to make more people aware of just how serious this epidemic is but also how hopeful we can all be. As Philicia Deckard, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, always says, “We can’t have too many people talking about brain injury!” She’s quite right — the more we talk about brain injury, the more we get to know those who are on that journey and the more we really understand the issues.

Brain injury concerns all of us, as we are all at risk. Each day we get into the car, each day a child is on the playground, on a skateboard, or on a football or soccer field, each day we that we find ourselves just living our lives with the risk of an unexpected fall or bump on the head, we are at risk for an injury that could change our lives or the lives of those we love forever.

For more information, questions or comments, please contact me at gml@nolan-law.com.

Also, please check out the Brain Injury Association of Illinois for further information and resources, including support groups, at their website: www.biail.org. You can also follow the Brain Injury Association of Illinois on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biaofil.