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Life after a brain injury can be significantly different

Often people think of life-altering injuries as physical injuries, where an individual loses the use of a limb or is paralyzed. But a brain injury can also significantly change a person's ability to work and communicate, making life a very different place after the injury.

For victims of accidental brain injury, the past is entirely different than the world in which they now live. For some, even remembering a life before the injury can be a challenge.

Some brain injury victims had been in the middle of a promising career when a brain injury altered the course of their future. One young man took a hard hit to his head; he ignored it because it didn't seem serious initially. Not long after, he took another seemingly light blow to the head. The second blow ruptured blood vessels, causing him to collapse. When he woke up after a three-week coma, life had changed forever.

Many things that he knew before the brain injury, including the very basics like talking and walking, were gone. Everything that had been wiped out by the brain injury had to be relearned.

He had to start over, beginning his learning from a third-grade level. With a lot of hard work, he has made enough physical and mental strides in the last few years to be able to golf, ski, travel and give inspirational speeches.

What many victims of workplace or other accident-related brain injuries feel is the hardest adjustment is acceptance. Realizing there will be some things they will no longer be able to do is frustrating. For the injured young man, limitations include being legally blind and walking only with the help of a cane.

Recovering from a brain injury is often a tough process. In some instances, the injury victim never fully regains their ability to perform the basic functions. It can be devastating for someone who has worked their entire life; they now have to rely on others for basic needs.

Source: MSNBC online, "Hits in back-to-back games change player's life," Nancy Armour, 14 May 2011

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