Counselling for Men 

 Brian E. Brumwell, BSc, MTS,

 [email protected]

Blog & comments

Blog & comments

What is a brain injury?

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Concussion, Mild Brain Injury, (mTBI) Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)all have one thing in common, the most vital part of a human being has been damaged.


       160,000 Canadians sustain brain injuries each year. Incidence (and reporting rates) are rising.


       Over a million Canadians live with the effects of an acquired brain injury.


       About 50% of all acquired brain injuries in Canada come from falls and motor vehicle accidents.


       Think First reports that thirty per cent of all traumatic brain injuries are sustained by children and youth, many of them while participating in sports and recreational activities. ( ;)

    These are just the individual cases.Assuming that each person has 2 parents, perhaps siblings, friends, classmates or coworkers and before long the number of people affected is multiplied numerous times.

The brain sits in a jelly-like substance and floats inside the skull. When an individual is struck on the head or their body is moved suddenly, they can acquire a brain injury. The suspended brain slams against the hard interior of the skull and often bounces back to damage the other side as well. Imagining a ball inside a container gives a rudimentary idea of what happens.

When this happens the brain very often twists inside the skull and microscropic fibres of the brain are torn and shredded. As one would expect, this can have devastrating consequences to the individual. 

If the survivor goes unconscious, their muscles of course will atrophy more and more the longer they are comatose. But until they awaken from this state it is impossible to determine how the brain has been effected. If they do not lose consciousness, they may still experience dizziness, headaches, absentmindedness, fatigue and soreness.

In severe cases, a loss of smell and vision problems could be coupled with a loss of taste. Balance issues, spasticity of muscles, walking problems with gait, muscle weakness and loss of fine and gross motor skills. They could lose an awareness of one side of their body and clumsily bump into things and these are just some of the physical issues.

Not to mention cognitive issues like organization, concentration, memory retention, impulsivity and unawareness of social standards and expectations. Fatigue is one of the devastating effects of sustaining a brain injury and because a person may appear to be 'normal' again, they are often labelled as 'lazy and non-productive' if they need more rest than others.

Learning to deal with the new realities of a new person who often looks like the old person can be very difficult. Brain Injury patients have often dealt with the ignorance that comes with comments like "You look fine to me". Families and friends need to be patient and understanding and there are many resources and support organizations to help with this life transition. Education of the effects of brain injury is an important part of understanding.

Maybe you'd like some help explaining things to family or close friends, or maybe you'd just like a fuller understanding of your injury. I'm a person who has been where you are, I have knowledgeable about brain injury. I'm kind and willing to listen and I can help.

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