TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘PTSD’

Brain Injury Resources . . . . . “Explaining Brain Injury, Blast Injury and PTSD to Children and Teens “

Explaining Brain Injury, Blast Injury and PTSD to Children and Teens

by
Marilyn Lash, M.S.W., Janelle Breese Biagioni and Tonya Hellard 
(offered by Lash & Associates Publishers)

presented by
Donna O’Donnell Figurski

EBIB Cover copy

When a parent is injured, sons and daughters often feel confused, scared, anxious, and angry. This guide helps parents explain the physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and communicative changes that can follow a brain injury, blast injury, or PTSD. Using examples from children of all ages, it helps children understand their emotional reactions to a parent’s injury or PTSD. Each chapter has an exercise for children and practical tips for children, parents, and professionals.

To locate additional books pertaining to brain injury, please check out Lash & Associates Publishing/Training Inc.

Marilyn Lash – Author – President of Lash & Associates Publishing

Tonya Hellard – Author (no photo available)

Janelle Breese Biagioni – Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger . . . David A. Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have

You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have

by

David A. Grant

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Boy Blogger thI’ve been thinking about you again and wondering how life has been treating you.

Last night, Sarah and I were at the high school. We went to watch fireworks.

Like we do most every year, we set up our blanket, then walked the oval track for a couple of laps. It’s a great place to people-watch.

The bleachers caught my eye as I looked up to one of the top rows – to where I was sitting when I saw you graduate.

David A. Grant - Brain Injury Survivor & Author

David A. Grant – Brain Injury Survivor & Author

You had no idea I was there at your graduation. How could you?

Except for the day we met shortly after the accident, we’ve not seen each other.

One of our own kids graduated the same day that you did. It was just another of those “chance meetings” that have too often come to pass.

I never expected to hear your name on the loudspeaker that graduation day.

Nor did I know how deeply my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) ran as I fell into my seat, unable to even stand for the rest of the ceremony.

A while back, I wrote that if I had the chance, I might just thank you for changing the very course of my life.

Today, I would most likely not thank you.

fireworks-animatedBut I need to be very clear, I am not angry, nor do I hold any resentment. To hold bitterness in my heart is to allow myself to be run over again and again – every day that I breathe.

Life is just too short.

Sometimes things just happen.

Sometimes newly-licensed teenage drivers run over cyclists. We both know that better than most.

It’s a safe bet to say that you did not plan your day by saying, “By today’s end, I’ll have T-boned a local cyclist.”onbicycle

It’s weird and hard to put into words – even for a guy like me, but I am living the life I was destined to live.

You just played a small, rather impactful part.

Kind of like a long line of falling dominoes, you knocked over the first domino when you struck me that cold November day back in 2010.

And from there, that line of dominoes has continued to fall. It’s circled the globe a few times … and, one-by-one, the dominoes fall.Dominoes

While I can’t thank you for hitting me that fated day, I can now see that it was unavoidable. It was destined to happen.

Over the years, I have come to realize that I have lost my life. I spend a lot of time living for others.

A few years ago, I was able to find you on Facebook. You were in college then.

Lest we forget, you were only sixteen when we first met.

You looked like a typical college kid – happy, clean cut, smiling … ready to embrace your future and all the promise that it holds.

I looked for you again today. Not in a creepy kind of way – more so, just to see how you are.

After a few minutes, I gave up. You were nowhere to be found.

I suppose that’s best.

You most likely don’t wonder about “that guy” that you hit while you were still a kid, but occasionally he thinks about you.

I have no need to forgive you as I never condemned you. Funny how that works.

If Fate saw our paths cross again, I would most likely not let you know who I was. No greater good would be served by it.

But here, in the faux anonymity that comes with today’s world, I wish you well … and I wish you happiness.

Peace.

About David A. Grant

David A. Grant 2 101115

David A. Grant – Brain Injury Survivor & Author

David A. Grant is a freelance writer, keynote speaker and traumatic brain injury survivor based out of southern New Hampshire. He is the author of “Metamorphosis, Surviving Brain Injury,” a book that chronicles in exquisite detail the first year-and-a-half of his new life as a brain injury survivor. His newest title, “Slices of Life after Traumatic Brain Injury,” was released in 2015.

David is also a contributing author to “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.” As a survivor of a cycling accident in 2010, he shares his experience and hope though advocacy work including a public speaking as well as his weekly brain injury blog.

David is a regular contributing writer to Brainline.org, a PBS sponsored website. He is also a BIANH board member as well as a columnist in HEADWAY, the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire’s periodic newsletter.

David is the founder of TBI Hope and Inspiration, a Facebook community with over 15,000 members including survivors, family members, caregivers as well as members of the medical and professional community as well as the publisher of “TBI Hope and Inspiration Magazine.”

 

Thank you, David A. Grant.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of David A. Grant.)

 

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Brain Injury Resources . . . . . . “Their War Came Home” . . . . . . . (a documentary on the Effect of PTSD on Veterans and Their Families and Friends)

“Their War Came Home” – a Free (YouTube) Documentary on the Effect of PTSD

on Veterans and Their Families and Friends

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Marilyn-Lash

Marilyn Lash, MSW, president of Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

 

Marilyn Lash, MSW, president of a 20-year-old company dedicated to brain injury, Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc., has been very interested in brain injury and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in children, adults, and veterans. She was very involved in the production of (and appears in) the newly released documentary “Their War Came Home.” Marilyn told me about it and sent me the link. My husband and I immediately watched it. This documentary is a “must see.”

Their-War-Came-Home-Postcard-768x544

“Their War Came Home” A documentary by veterans for veterans

My husband and I watched gut-wrenching interviews of veterans describing the horrors of what PTSD did to them and to their families and friends. The documentary highlights the lack of awareness by the public and the major deficiencies of the military’s dealing with this huge problem. We witness veterans speaking candidly about suicide; outbursts, rage, and other emotional problems; drug abuse; alcoholism; homelessness; the problems of hypervigilance and isolation; and the effects it has on their loved ones. There is a heartfelt interview with a woman who is the spouse of a Navy SEAL with PTSD. Her words may resonate on many levels with some of you caregivers. Her comments on “living grief” are particularly touching. How does one lose the original version of one’s survivor and learn to love the one who took his or her place?

War ExplosionThe documentary ends on a hopeful note. The veterans who gave the interviews are learning to cope with their PTSD, often with great difficulty. There are volunteer organizations that help, and the film ends by showing several hotlines to call.Male Soldier

I highly recommend this documentary. It’s only 50 minutes long and is freely available on YouTube. You can also find it at Lash’s Blog on Brain Injury. It’s a must see!

 

(Photos compliments of Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

As I say after each post:

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

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

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So, Whaddya Think? . . . . . Football Puts Children’s Brains at Risk

So, Whaddya Think?

Football Puts Children’s Brains at Risk

by

David Figurski and Donna O’Donnell Figurski

(Note: This is our third opinion essay on brain trauma and American football. The first and second were published on this blog on December 17th and December 26th, respectively.)

 

So Whaddya Think Brain th-4Lack of awareness of new knowledge has allowed society to continue what some of us now know to be dangerous practices with respect to children. To understand what we mean, watch these short videos of children practicing or playing American football (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

The danger to the brains of children in the videos is readily apparent to us (video, story). Parents often believe a brain injury is rare. But the evidence indicates otherwise. The hundreds of sub-concussive hits that a player of American football receives each season can result in the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE can lead to loss of memory, loss of cognitive ability, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), aggressive behavior, depression, and suicidal thoughts. It has been seen in the brains of high school football players. In fact, individuals who started playing organized American football at a young age seem to have a higher rate of CTE.

Bennet Omalu

Dr. Bennet Omalu – neuropathologist – discovered CTE

Recently, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE in an American football player by studying the brain of Hall-of-Fame center Mike Webster, was the author of a recent New York Times Op-Ed entitled Don’t Let Kids Play Football. In an interview for zap2it.com, Dr. Omalu said, “As a modern society it’s our duty to protect our most vulnerable, most precious gifts of life: our children. This is where I stand.”

(We highly recommend your seeing the newly released movie Concussion, which will bring about more awareness of the danger to the brain from playing American football. The movie tells the true story of how the National Football League – NFL – tried to dismiss Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of the connection of brain disease and the playing of American football. Former players are suing the NFL, claiming that the NFL knew of the dangers, but did not inform the players.)kid-football-players-clip-art

In the documentary Head Games (online and free), we are reminded that children are not miniature adults. A child’s head is larger than an adult’s in proportion to his or her body. The neck muscles are not proportionately stronger, so a child’s head is more vulnerable than is an adult’s head. Brain development continues until at least age 14. (Some neurologists think brain development may continue longer.) In addition, the neurons in a developing brain are not yet fully myelinated. Recent research has shown that a concussion in a child impairs brain function for two years. The risk to the brain is the major reason why US Soccer banned heading for children 10 and under.

George Visger

Former San Francisco 49er – George Visger – TBI Survivor

On August 16th, Donna conducted a radio interview with George Visger, a former defensive lineman for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers on her radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network. Visger stated that youth football might ultimately end because of the eventual high cost of liability insurance (minutes 30:25-33:45; we think you will also find the intervals 5:40-15:55 and 39:40-42:25 interesting because of their contents – children and football). Dr. Omalu, the discoverer of CTE in an American football player, says in Frontline’s documentary The League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis that he was told if 10% of mothers think playing football is too dangerous, it will mean the end of football.

The consequences of a brain injury can be especially devastating, even fatal, to a young player (video 1, video 2, story of the suicide of a teenage football player). The risk of brain injury from high-impact sports, especially American football, is significant even for adults, but an adult can make his or her own decision to play. In contrast, children rely on parents and Brain in Helmetcoaches. No parent would deliberately put a child’s life-trajectory at risk, but what if the parent lacks awareness? The good news is that apparently society’s awareness is growing quickly. Peter Landesman, the director of Concussion, said that Pop Warner football enrollment is down by more than 30%. (Pop Warner football is for children aged 5 to 16.) The movie Concussion will further increase society’s awareness of the danger of concussions and sub-concussive hits, show what CTE is, tell Dr. Bennet Omalu’s story of his discovery of the relationship of CTE and American football, and show Dr. Omalu’s struggle with the NFL.

Healthy and Damaged Brain

Left – Healthy Brain — Right – Brain with CTE

It is also the brain-injury community’s responsibility to speak out to show society how life-altering a brain injury is.

 

 

 

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.

As I say after each post:

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

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . . Shanna Wolf Heart Powell

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Shanna Wolf Heart Powell

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718

It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.

The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.

On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.

The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.

If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

Shanna Wolf Heart Powell (survivor)

Powell, Shanna Wolf Heart Survivor 062715 3This was me three years ago. I was in this truck when it flipped and rolled at 60 mph. I had a shattered face and a shattered shoulder. And, I spent some time in a coma. This was the final nail – the one that pushed my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) into full mode and gave me a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I am not the same me. I am the “new” me. God chose me to still be here. I see it too many times – people are in wrecks and they don’t make it. Powell, Shanna Wolf Heart Survivor 062715 2My survival just makes me even more thankful. (I now make a horrible passenger, as every time the driver swerves, a car looks like it’s going to hit us, or it appears that it is not going to stop, I freak out.) I forget things a lot. I loose what I am saying in the middle of a conversation. I get flustered easily. I have many depressed days and cannot do all the things I used to. I panic for people when I see them getting flown by Care Flight (as I was a “passenger” once). All I can do is say, “God, please help them.”

One day, I had taken my boys to a hospital’s Emergency Room for something, and they wheeled a trauma patient past us. Covered in blood, she was badly hurt from an automobile accident. She was screaming, confused, and scared. They were taking her out to put her on Care Flight. I cried for her and panicked. That was one of the first-known PTSD triggers for me. I have no recollection of the wreck that almost killed me. But, I relived a horrible moment in my life through her. I could only imagine what it was like for me.

Those who care enough to read through my story will read this and then go on with life. But, I live this every day. My TBI (though not as bad as some, and for that I say, “Thank you, God”), my PTSD, and my bipolar disorder will never go away. So, I just have to live with them every day. I cannot do a simple task without issues. For example, I may not understand things when I go to places, like the cell phone store. I don’t understand how to put the airtime cards in my new phone. Instead of telling the clerk, “I have a TBI and don’t understand,” I just say, “Oh, OK.” 😦

Almost every day, something triggers my PTSD, and I fight to stay afloat. People say, “Get over it.” 😦 There is no getting over it! It’s not an easy battle, so please do not tell me to “get over it.” I have lost the memory of a lot of things in my life. I may forget things you just told me. I get confused to the point that I just say, “Forget it. If you try to explain any further, I will just get mad because I don’t get it.” And, I have no filter. I tend to say what I think. So, if I say something and it offends you, move along or unfriend me. It’s not personal.

Powell, Shanna Wolf Heart Survivor 062715 1So “Happy Three-Year Survival” to me! This is why I’m getting the “;” tattoo. And, my story is not over.

To those who think I am stupid and annoying, “Please don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.” And, to those who stayed by my side, stayed my friends, or have become my new friends – “Thank you! Love to all!”

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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.

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On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Juliet Madsen, TBI Survivor, US Troop, Quilter, Author

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

with

Juliet Madsen, TBI Survivor, US Troop, Quilter, Author

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Juliet Madsen UniformJuliet Madsen has served in the US Army since she was 17-years old. She was involved in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. While serving her country, Juliet suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, at least one stroke, and numerous other medical issues, which changed her life #7 10610754_10203491518354714_4796635925244510505_nforever. On “Another Fork in the Road,” Juliet talked about how she copes with her new life and how she and her family make this new life work for them. I hope you won’t miss her show.

You can learn more about Juliet and read her book at Veterans Book Project. Scroll down the page to find Juliet’s book.

You can also see her collections of more than 50 quilts at Stroke of Luck Quilting.

Here are two of my favorites.

6Madsen092011

If you missed her interview on “Another Fork in the Road” on May 17th, you are in luck. You can listen to the archived show here.

Click the link below to listen to Juliet Madsen and me.

See you “On the Air!”

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

with Juliet Madsen – TBI Survivor, US Troop, Quilter, Author

Click here for a list of all “Another Fork in the Road” shows on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, Caregiver – Military Spouse

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio

“Another Fork in the Road”

with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, Caregiver – Military Spouse

presented by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

images-1

When Jeannette Davidson-Mayer’s husband, DeWayne, had five brain injuries – the result of his active duty in Iraq – Jeannette became his caregiver. To combat this 24-hour job, Jeannette redesigned her kitchen to become the family’s “Central Command Post.”  Jeannette will discuss how she, DeWayne, and their daughter make11023816_10204963754366844_8119135603280691384_n this system work for them.

If you missed her interview on “Another Fork in the Road” on April 19th, you are in luck. You can listen to the archived show here.

Click the link below to listen to Jeannette Davidson-Mayer and me.

See you “On the Air!”

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

with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, Caregiver – Military Spouse

Click here for a list of all “Another Fork in the Road” shows on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

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