TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for March, 2016

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit: . . . . . . Wanting A “Sound Mind,” 30-Year-Old Football Player Retires

Wanting A “Sound Mind,” 30-Year-Old Football Player Retires

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

husain_abdullah

Husain Abdullah – NFL Player

For seven years, Husain Abdullah played football in the National Football League (NFL), the premier professional football league in the United States. For four years, Abdullah, a safety, played with the Minnesota Vikings, and, for three years, he played with the Kansas City Chiefs. He graciously thanked both teams for allowing him to play. In the 2015 season, he had the fifth concussion of his career. While he was recovering, he thought about his many life-goals. Husain realized that he would need a “sound mind” to achieve his goals.

The research showing a link between the head trauma of football and the neurodegenerative disease CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is thought-provoking, and it has several players concerned. Even the NFL has admitted that there is a link between playing football and CTE, although the league later tried to downplay its comment. (CTE, originally known as “dementia pugilistica,” had only been seen in the brains of some boxers.

Dr. Bennet Omalu -

Dr. Bennet Omalu –

Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first to find the disease elsewhere – in a football player. Dr. Omalu renamed the disease “CTE.” Dr. Omalu’s discovery is the subject of the December 2015 movie Concussion, starring Will Smith. The real-life story is told in the PBS Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis – available free online.)

Abdullah’s retirement follows other early retirements, most notably that of San Francisco 49er star rookie linebacker, Chris Borland, who cited the high risk of brain disease as his reason for retiring after playing only one year. Another rookie, Green Bay Packer wide receiver Adrian Coxson, retired after getting a severe concussion in practice and being told that the next hit might seriously affect his brain function or kill him.

Abdullah Husain - NFL Player

Abdullah Husain – NFL Player

It remains to be seen if Husain Abdullah’s retirement will be the last early retirement in the NFL due to football’s risk to the brain. (Full story)

 

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So, Whaddya Think? . . . . . . . . . We Must All Be Advocates for Brain Injury Awareness

So, Whaddya Think?

We Must All Be Advocates for Brain Injury Awareness

by

Beth Kidd Koziol

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

so-whaddya-think-brain-th-4Having been a diehard NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) fan for 50+ years, I’ve seen fatal injuries, career-ending brain injuries, and loss of job, spouse, or self – just part of the damage a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause. Once NASCAR realized the need, it made major changes to the requirements of all safety gear used on the driver and to the inside and the outside of the car. Great strides have been made with “soft”

Hans Device

Hans Device for Racing

walls, the HANS (head and neck support) device, a five-point harness system, crush panels in the sides of the car, and so much more. Bobby Allison’s racing career was ended years ago due to a brain injury – before so many changes were made. It wasn’t until the sport lost Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in a horrific Daytona crash that NASCAR really took safety to a higher level. They are still working on safety.

Kidd Koziol, Beth Survivor 2

Beth Kidd Koziol – Brain Injury Survivor

The brain injury community also has a major need. I wish there were more people in schools talking to young children to make them more aware of TBI. (Most children now learn about TBI if they have it themselves.) We want the public to be exposed more to and to be more aware of TBI. The public needs to know how to best try to prevent TBI. The knowledge could also lessen the damage if something happens – a fall, an accident, or whatever might happen.

Racing Cars 1288639-nascar-002_06172006

Awareness is vital. I’m sure that, like me, many survivors have had much trouble getting family and friends to understand what TBI has done to the person. I’m so tired of hearing, “You look fine. You talk OK. It’s just an excuse.” (I’ve heard those very words so many times that I decided to withdraw contact with those who hurt me.) I want to socialize, to have fun, and to be who I am now (ten years later). Recently, a neurologist told me that, due to my brain injury, I’m very high risk for early dementia. This was the first time I’ve ever been told this! So, what are we doing about the problem?

We must all be advocates for brain injury awareness in whatever ways we can to try and make a difference.

Kidd Koziol, Beth Survivor 3

Beth Kidd Koziol – Brain Injury Survivor

So, Whaddya Think?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Post your comments in the Comment Section. Directions are below.

So . . . what do you think? Is there something you are passionate about in this Brain Injury (BI) world? Do you want to be heard? Your opinion matters! You can SPEAK OUT! on “So Whaddya Think?”

Simply send me your opinion, and I will format it for publication. Posts may be short, but please send no more than 500 words. Send to Neelyf@aol.com

I hope to HEAR from you soon.

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Brain Injury Resources . . . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

Happy Birthday to Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

happy-birthday.jpg

Happy Birthday to Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury Blog. We are two-years-old.

There are more than 400 articles published on Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury Blog, Happy-2nd-Birthdaywhich hopefully is helping brain injury survivors, their caregivers, families, and friends.

If you want to learn more “About Me and my Blog, click the link. Each category is described in a nutshell.

Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury Blog sends a million hugs to its participants, followers, and random readers. Everyone is invited to subscribe or drop in Million HUgs 184495anytime. Just click the “Follow Me” button in the right sidebar under the “Follow Me Via Email” category.

 

Contact me if:
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Please SHARE!

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Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Ryan Stoltz

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Ryan Stoltz

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Stoltz, Ryan Survivor

Ryan Stoltz – Brain Injury Survivor

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Ryan Stoltz

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

Eureka, California, USA     Ryan.Stoltz2014@gmail.com

3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?

My traumatic brain injury (TBI) happened on July 13, 1997. I was 17 years old.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

My TBI was caused by a car accident.

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

About six months

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?

I was intubated at the scene. I was then given a trach (tracheostomy tube), a G-Tube (gastrostomy tube), and IVs.

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

I was in a coma for 23 days.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?

I had occupational, speech, and physical therapies. The physical therapy was to relearn how to walk. I was in acute physical rehab for nine months.

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I have problems with balance, memory, speech, and perception.

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

My life is dramatically much worse. I have no independence.

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?

I miss being able to go out and about on my own – without assistance from anyone. I also miss having my own family.

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?

I don’t enjoy anything because every day is a struggle.

13. What do you like least about your brain injury?

I dislike not being able to accomplish the dreams and goals I had for myself.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?

I was helped by my support system at home (my family) and by my support systems at my job and my day program.

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

My relationships at home were not affected because my parents have been a great support for me.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

Stoltz, Ryan 2 Survivor

Ryan Stoltz – Brain Injury Survivor

My social life was affected greatly because I can’t go anyplace or do anything on my own. All my friends have grown and were able to move on with their lives. I feel like I was left behind.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

My parents have been my main caregivers. Yes, I do understand what it takes. They help me with all my needs and wants in my home life. I also have a respite worker who takes me out into the community to do the fun things I like to do.

18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

I want to be a mentor to others by telling them my life-story from before my accident to my accident and then telling them how the accident has affected my life.

19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other survivors with your specific kind of brain injury.

I would like survivors to be more willing to hear both sides of the story.

20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Don’t get angry at your situation. Take life day by day.

If you’d like to learn more about Ryan, please check out his blog.

Didn’t Give Up: Your Life Can Change in a Minute

 

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

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(Photos compliments of contributor.)

 

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blog: http://didntgiveup.wordpress.com

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Author, Jim Proebstle

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road”

with

Author, Jim Proebstle

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

images-1

 

Jim Proebstle, author of “Unintended Impact: One Athlete’s Journey From Concussions in Amateur Football to CTE Dementia,” tells the story of his older brother, Dick Proebstle, who didn’t get the fame and fortune of some NFL Football players, but did get the repercussions as he received countless head injuries while playing high school and college football.

Dick’s life went from the stars to an abyss over the course of 50 years. He lost so much without his knowing or understanding why. In fact, his children and family didn’t understand his decline either. Jim Proebstle 1It wasn’t until CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) came to the forefront when neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu  discovered the disease in the autopsied brain of 50-year-old Mike Webster, a once-upon-a-time revered Pittsburgh Steeler whose life unexpectedly declined soon after retirement. This left Webster homeless and exhibiting abnormal behaviors. Soon after, the brains of many other deceased NFL players were examined and various degrees of (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) were also found. Dr. Omalu’s discovery began to open eyes of many other scientists and Boston University began a study. 89 of the 93 donated NFL player brains, were found to have CTE, which explained to the families the many bizarre behaviors their loved ones were exhibiting before they died.

Jim Proebstle Unintended Impact BookJim wrote his book, “Unintended Impact” to not only honor his brother, but also to  raise awareness of the dangers of all head injuries. Jim also authored two other books, “Fatal Incident” and “In the Absence of Honor.” You can find any of Jims’ books at amazon.com

If you missed this show with Jim Proebstle, author of “Unintended Impact: One Athlete’s Journey from Concussions in Amateur Football to CTE Dementia” on “Another Fork in the Road” on March 20th, 2016, don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

To learn more about Jim Proebstle, please visit his website.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with author, Jim Proebstle

 

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TBI Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Don’t Let What You Survived Bring You Down by Karen Bradley Williams

Don’t Let What You Survived Bring You Down

by

Karen Bradley Williams

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Williams, Karen Bradley SurvivorI am a three-time traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor (2007, 2010, and 2011). After my first one, I lost everything, including my husband, but I always had my mom. Now nine years post my first TBI, I am remarried to a wonderful man. He loves me, knows and understands my limitations, and treats me like a queen. I have gone back to college, and I am a nationwide certified pharmacy tech. I have real friends and a great life.

Don’t let what you have survived bring you down. Look at what you have made it through. Do not give up now. Your miracle is just around the corner.

 

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the author.)

If you have a story to share and would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please submit your TBI Tale to me at neelyf@aol.com. I will publish as many stories as I can.

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

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SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger . . . Ric Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Why You Should Tell Your Brain-Injury Story

Why You Should Tell Your Brain-Injury Story

by

Ric Johnson

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Boy Blogger thMarch is Brain Injury Awareness Month.  It’s said that brain injuries constitute an invisible and silent epidemic. Invisible? Yes, because most times we, “the walking wounded,” seem fine and because there isn’t a high-profile celebrity who is a spokesperson for brain injuries. Silent? Yes, again, because most of us prefer to blend in and don’t have a public forum to speak from.

Is it possible to stop having brain injuries called “silent” or “invisible”? Yes, it is. It’s all about educating the general public.

Let’s start first by explaining. What is the difference between a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)? According to my dictionary, “traumatic” means “shocking,” “devastating,” “alarming,” “distressing,” “terrifying,” “upsetting,” “wounding,” and even more adjectives. Which seems like there is no such thing as a “mild” or “moderate” traumatic brain injury. The only apparent difference is what caused the injury. A brain injury is a different kind of injury. We didn’t break our arm; we broke our brain. We didn’t remove a cast after eight weeks and get on with life; we needed to relearn, refocus, and re-navigate into our old lives if or when possible. There isn’t a 100% healing process – any person who had a brain injury still has a brain injury and is still recovering.

Concussion seems to be a brain injury that’s mentioned everywhere these days. That’s good – people are beginning to understand concussions. But, concussions are mainly (not always) from sports (football, skating, soccer, and skiing, to name a few). I probably had two concussions after getting hit by cars. I didn’t think I had a concussion at the time, but the more I think about it now, the more I believe I had a concussion from each. I didn’t have any major problems that I can think of, but the accidents happened many years ago.

Johnson, Richard la5-seQbctqTwXPuELQm7w3ZPSPra73-BTYsV2TzFrmHjlfsj8CAdfvj1wnfejETg2tSTJ4rfqDvOL9oMI_160CYm__3H82mWGki2QEVhZYz8ZLYhqad7IsWyOqj_li8nObQrOkqqzVt95fKknyW4oNd7A0fSkhYMnExzhzeBcwPbATtvzU5LI-TdmefuMcdZc7l959--u6H5aNYtBUCZmiCBS0BWSmt

Ric Johnson – Brain Injury Survivor

Traumatic brain injuries seem to be getting more attention as well. A TBI may seem as the most serious type of brain injury, but only because of the circumstance that caused the injury (a violent blow/jolt to the head or an object penetrating the skull). Most people think TBIs come from actions like bomb blasts, combat, violent shootings, or horrible car accidents. Well, falls are main causes of TBIs – falling down stairs, falling from a ladder, falling when attempting to cross the street, etc.

My injury happened when I fell from a ladder while cleaning the gutters on my house in October 2003. I spent one month in HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center) in a medically induced coma. I needed craniotomy surgery to relieve swelling on my brain. I had many MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CAT (computerized tomography) scans, a feeding tube, a tracheotomy, a session in the hyperbaric chamber, etc.

After waking from my coma, I spent the next two months in two different hospitals to see what, if any, therapy would be necessary. I started with physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions daily. In January 2004, I was released and was back at home. I wore a protective helmet until the bone flap was reinserted on my skull in February 2004. I continued with speech and occupational therapies at Courage Kenny (Center) from January to September 2004. I went back to my full-time job in October 2004.

Since then, I have become a member of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance Speaker Bureau, and a facilitator for the Courage Kenny Brain Injury Support Group. It looks like I recovered nicely, but looks can be deceiving. It may seem like most survivors can go back to their pre-injury occupations. In fact, most survivors cannot.Typewriter 4C

So what can survivors do? They can become advocates for all survivors. Let the public know that a brain injury is perhaps the worst injury of all. It doesn’t just happen to one person; it happens to the entire family as well. Let the public know by telling your story.

 

Thank you, Ric Johnson.

Disclaimer:
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Ric Johnson)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it (intact) with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it (intact) with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

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