At least 2.8 million Americans annually suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a fall, car accident, physical assault, or blunt force trauma. While TBIs affect so many, every traumatic brain injury survivor has unique experiences and recovery patterns. Each March, Brain Injury Awareness Month presents a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the realities of TBIs and ways to improve the quality of life for people living with them.
The Invisible Injury
TBI survivors commonly refer to their condition as the “invisible injury.” This is because TBIs often present no visible evidence to the outside eye, yet the day-to-day struggles and challenges are all too real. This “invisibility” can easily lead to a number of misunderstandings that can be frustrating for those living with the condition.
Misconceptions & Realities
The Brain Injury Association of America and other patient-focused organizations have created campaigns to provide tangible platforms for people living with TBIs. These programs aid TBI survivors by dispelling myths and allowing them to tell their real-life stories instead.
Here are some insights to consider based on feedback from the TBI community:
Misconception: If the survivor doesn’t have any visible wounds, they should be expected to function just as they did before the injury.
Reality: It’s easy to be confused about a person’s recovery when we see changes in their behavior but no signs of visible injury. While external trauma caused by a fall may heal relatively quickly, mental and emotional trauma and cognitive changes can last much longer. It’s important to understand TBIs can cause chronic conditions that have a lasting impact on the survivor’s ability to participate in everyday activities like school, work, socializing, and spending time with family.
Misconception: The best way to help a person with a TBI is to complete tasks for them.
Reality: It’s natural to feel the need to offer assistance, and it can feel frustrating to watch a loved one struggle with everyday tasks. But try to remain calm and allow them to complete activities independently unless you’re asked for help. While this may seem counterintuitive, utilizing this method can actually help the person improve their skills faster and ultimately help them gain confidence and self-worth.
Misconception: Having a TBI means you can no longer enjoy community events and activities.
Reality: Although TBIs can limit mobility and balance, survivors have a wide range of assistive tools at their disposal to help them remain active and regain confidence. Dynarex provides a wide variety of rollators, canes, and wheelchairs ideal for long term care that can fill a wide range of needs. Rollators are a great choice because they provide support and mobility for long distances. Patients can choose to stand or sit depending on their energy level. A cane is another viable walking aid that offers stability and allows a person to stand or walk as long as they feel comfortable. In cases where mobility is more limited, wheelchairs provide necessary transportation.
The Search for Supportive Solutions
Remember, if you are a caregiver or a loved one of a TBI survivor, active listening and communication are effective ways to understand their real-life struggles and generate effective solutions. Mobility devices can help with specific challenges like limited motion and muscle weakness. With these tools, compassionate support, and appropriate treatment, many who have experienced chronic brain trauma can adapt to their new circumstances to lead full, happy, and productive lives.
Dynarex offers an array of high-quality Mobility Devices and Long Term Care products designed to help improve stability and meet a wide variety of patients’ daily needs. Explore our full selection of premium disposable and durable medical products here.