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"Who thinks about the lifetime impairments of a traumatic brain injury?"
January 21, 2011 12:02 PM   Subscribe

"With the lifetime costs of civilian brain injuries escalating, are local communities prepared for the complex treatment measures many veterans will require?. . . Why have we devoted such tremendous effort to sustaining life while investing so little to support and nurture it?" Fascinating accounts of brain injuries and their aftermaths, devastating and hopeful, from brain injury case manager Michael Paul Mason.

Brain injury FAQ
posted by cybercoitus interruptus (8 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

This is not only a topic of war. Yesterday's Fresh Air featured an interview with Christopher Nowinski - a former college football player and WWE wrestler who is now leading the charge to understand and prevent brain trauma in athletes. Worth a listen.

Great post.
posted by m@f at 2:21 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

[let's have a small do-over. If there's something you want to talk about, it might be worth choosing your words more carefully if you're making the first comment, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:30 PM on January 21, 2011

This is an excellent post, cybercoitus interruptus - tough reading though. Thanks.

Splunge, so sorry about your Dad, that's rough.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:30 PM on January 21, 2011

This is a subject that affects me very strongly. I haven't been able to read all of the links yet, but thanks for the FPP, it's important.

madamjujujive Thanks very much.
posted by Splunge at 3:56 PM on January 21, 2011

there are rules for 1st comments? i yield to "fox in sox"
posted by kitchenrat at 4:36 PM on January 21, 2011

I knew about the issues of bleeding and brain swelling, I didn't realize how many complex and unknown factors were involved with secondary injury. (also: the sheer numbers of BTI injuries even in the civilian population is scary).
posted by yeloson at 4:46 PM on January 21, 2011

m@f, Best American Sportswriting 2010 has a number of articles on the football brain injury research, including some insight into the complex professional relationships between those most involved in the work. (The story selection in this edition made me love guest editor Peter Gammons even more.)

What strikes me most about current research is the growing awareness that it's not necessarily the Big Hit that will do the most damage; it's cumulative, and one small bump may be enough to set off a domino chain of damage. Heartbreaking.
posted by catlet at 6:51 PM on January 21, 2011

I don't know how to explain this. But for non-invasive damage such as a stroke, time is the big thing. When a blood vessel bursts in the brain it's basically moments that matter. When you first have someone in front of you that seem to be okay, but they start to be non-responsive or begin to repeat words, it's probably very late. I waited a moment or two to talk to my dad.

He kept repeating, I'm alright, I'm alright.

I didn't know what that meant.

What it meant was that he was having a massive burst of blood in his brain. It actually started in the Broca's area and spread. And so we finally called 911. But meanwhile I thought he had just fallen down again. Because he had before.

Nope. His head exploded.

In his skull.

And while we waited for the ambulance, which arrived very fast, his brain was shutting down because of the pressure of blood flooding the left side of his skull.

Eventually, it seems, he still has physical responses. His eyes move. He feels pain. But he's not there.

He's my dad, the zombie.

And I hate it.
posted by Splunge at 7:35 PM on January 21, 2011

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