TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury’

So, Whaddya Think? “Concussion” Now in Theaters

So, Whaddya Think?

“Concussion” Now in Theaters

by

David Figurski and Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

(Note: This is our second opinion essay about Dr. Bennet Omalu and his research with brain trauma. The first was published on this blog on December 17th.)

So Whaddya Think Brain th-4The much-anticipated movie, Concussion (trailer), is making current and former players of American football, their families, parents, fans, and coaches think about what is really happening in a sport that has become a large part of American culture. The movie has the same goal as we in the brain-injury community have – greater awareness of the delicate Concussion Movie 2.jpgnature of the brain and the ramifications of brain damage. The movie was released on Christmas Day, but it has made much news before its release.

The movie, which unsurprisingly is not sanctioned by the National Football League (NFL), tells the true story of the Nigerian pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, and his discovery of the relationship of a neurodegenerative disease, which Dr. Omalu named “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE), and American football. Dr. Omalu studied the brain of Hall-of-Fame center, Mike Webster,

MikeWebsternfl

Mike Webster – Pittsburgh Steeler Pro Football Hall of Fame

who died at age 50 homeless and with dementia. As shown in the Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (available free online), the movie shows how the multibillion-dollar NFL didn’t want to hear of Dr. Omalu’s discovery. The league’s questionable committee on concussions immediately attacked Dr. Omalu. It is a classic “David-vs.-Goliath” story.

David & Goliath.jpg

David & Goliath

(Dr. Omalu said in his Frontline interview, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”) Former players have sued the NFL, arguing that the NFL knew of the dangers to the brain, but didn’t inform the players. In a class-action lawsuit, the NFL has recently settled for approximately $1 billion in medical expenses, but that settlement is being appealed by former players as inadequate.

Concussion Movie

Dr. Bennet Omalu – pathologist – discovered CTE with Actor, Will Smith

Will Smith plays Dr. Omalu in Concussion. Will Smith, a former football fan whose son played high school football, recently admitted that he has not watched a full game of football since he made this movie. Peter Landesman, the movie’s director, played football into his sophomore year of college, but, knowing what he knows now, he would not let his children play the game.

The movie is a “must-see.” (video)

 

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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On The Air: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brain Injury Radio . . . . . . . . “Another Fork in the Road” with Survivor & Caregiver, Sandra WIlliams

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

with

Guest: Survivor and Caregiver, Sandra Williams

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

images-1Sandra William’s was thrust into the role of brain injury survivor and caregiver when her whole family was involved in a motor accident with a drunk driver with multiple DUIs. Sandra spoke about the trials her family endured and still endures because of the negligence of a stranger.

As two teachers, Sandra and I delved into how schools 12200687_895719387130278_18176772_ncan better help students who are identified with brain injury or special needs. Federally mandated, 504 Plans and Individual Education Plans (IEP) were discussed.

If you missed this show with Sandra Williams on “Another Fork in the Road” on November 15th, 2015 don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Survivor and Caregiver, Sandra Williams

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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 with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

On The Air: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Daily Living & Organizational Skills

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

with

Panelists: Survivor, Lisa Dryer and Caregiver, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

Topic: Daily Living & Organizational Skills

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

images-1Living day by day with a brain injury can be an utmost challenge. Juggling fatigue, memory loss, or dealing with concentration issues, to name just a few, can be extremely overwhelming. So how does one overcome these problems while trying to get through the day? These are some of the topics that Lisa Dryer, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, and I discussed. Some really good ideas came out of the discussion. Tips that be easily utilized to help folks make their lives a bit more simple and controlled. I hope you will listen to the show to find out.

Dryer, Lisa SurvivorPanelist and survivor, Lisa Dryer, talked about having structure in her life, which helps her to stay more organized. Structure adds a balance that helps to make things more predictable. A predictable life is easier to maneuver through.

03 Jeannette Davidson-Mayer 110115Panelist and caregiver, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, elaborated on her “Central Command Center,” which is located in her kitchen. She said this method worked best for her husband, DeWayne, who received five brain injuries while serving in Iraq. Post-It notes and whiteboards help to keep Jeannette’s family more organized.

If you missed this show, “Daily Living & Organizational Skills” on “Another Fork in the Road” with Lisa Dryer and caregiver, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer on November 1, 2015 don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with panelists: survivor, Lisa Dryer and caregiver, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer on “Daily Living & Organizational Skills”

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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 with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Jeff Sebell

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Jeff Sebell

TBI Disconnection

 

Boy Blogger th

Of all the behaviors and peculiarities I have adopted since my brain injury, one of the most infuriating is how disconnected I can become. Although I have improved substantially over time and have learned how to deal with them better when they happen, I have moments when I am just not there.

When I say “not there,” what I mean is that I am “not present” to what is going on. The end result of “not being present” is that, instead of living my life, I watch as others participate in theirs, or I stay strangely passive as things happen around me. It is the damnedest thing to be right in the middle of what is happening and yet to be so far away mentally and emotionally. Right then, I have this urge to call the phone company and tell them I have a bad connection – could they send a repairman right away?

Ah, if it were only that easy.

When I am in one of those states of either disconnection or passivity, I become accepting of what others say or do, and I nod a lot and I shrug. Afterwards, with the dust still settling around me, as I begin to recover my wits and I reflect on what just happened, I always wish I could live that little piece of life over again – this time with the wherewithal to participate or to make my wishes known.

Finding myself in a state of disconnection from what is happening around me is something that happens all too often. I feel as though I am a lamp that has had its electric cord disconnected from the socket. Where I was once shining brightly on the various conversations, activities and people in the room, I have had my juice turned off, and I am stuck in the corner as an afterthought. People I had once been speaking with move me to another corner and complain about my not being plugged in.

Being disconnected can be something that happens to me in a social situation, or it could happen to me when I’m trying to do something or accomplish something on my own. I’ve gotten used to having it happen to me in social situations, and I have gotten pretty good at being able to avert or mitigate those instances, mostly by using my nonsensical sense of humor – perfect for that kind of situation.

What throws me off most is when I am trying to perform some task and I become disconnected from a situation. This usually happens when I get confused or overwhelmed, or when I’ve done something a bunch of times and now can’t remember how to do it. Nothing seems to make any sense, and I sit dumbfounded, unable to put two and two together. Having the ability to put two and two together is a skill that enables you to understand why things happen the way they do, how one thing can lead to another, etc., and it’s important when figuring out problems on your own. Adding two and two is so easy, and that’s what makes it so infuriating when I just can’t do it – sort of like word-find problems.

You would think that by the time I reached 58 years old, I would be able to put two and two together in my sleep, but I’m not always able to. What could be causing me to be so removed from what is going on? Is it something I can control, or is that the normal way my brain behaves now?

The answer for me seems to be, as with so many other TBI-related issues, preparation. I do my best to prepare for situations that I know I’m going to find myself in, and my preparations include taking a futurist’s approach to what I am about to do by planning ahead for different conversations, outcomes and eventualities.

It takes work to not be disconnected. In addition to preparation work and getting yourself ready for different eventualities, there is the work it takes to be present in situational disconnects – doing your best to stay in the present by controlling your thoughts and emotions. One kind of work we haven’t talked about is the work it takes after a disconnection happens. Let’s face it – they are going to happen, so how do you get a grip on yourself when things seem to be slipping from you?

Sebell, Jeff, Photo CAQBARA5

Jeff Sebell

It is both easy and tempting to get on your own case and blame yourself or laugh at yourself for something you just did or didn’t do, but it is work to just accept it as reality and move on. The only way you’re going to learn not to do things is to do the following: first, accept the reality of where you are, and second, move forward with dignity and a clear head.

You can read more about Jeff on his blog at TBI Survivor: Support for TBISurvivors. You can follow him on Twitter or at @ttbisurvivor.

Thank you, Jeff.

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

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No memory of the day that changed my life

My name is Michelle Munt and this is my story about surviving a brain injury and what I continue to learn about it. This is for other survivors and their loved ones, but also to raise awareness of what can happen to those in an accident. This invisible injury too often goes undiagnosed and it can be difficult to find information about it. I will talk about things that have helped me as I continue to recover and invite others to see if it works for them too.

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