Recovery from Brain Injury Occurs for the Rest of a Person’s Life

Recovery from Brain Injury Occurs for the Rest of a Person’s Life


The first is that a traumatic brain injury–yes, it is a big public health problem. It happens to 1.7 million Americans a year. The majority of these are mild traumatic brain injuries and are probably under-reported because people don’t get them in to be seen. The human brain is a wonderful organ that has an enormous amount of plasticity, and you never want to give up on a head-injured patient. Even though they may not be able to be the Einstein that you thought that your young one was going to be, the public needs to understand that these people have great potential and you need to have patience with them. They may have emotional problems to begin with that will resolve over time, that will get better over time. We have told everybody for years that recovery of function after traumatic brain injury occurs during the first 6 months, and then after that you don’t get anything, after that. That’s completely not true. Recovery occurs for the rest of your life. It may not go the leaps and bounds that you want it to go, but it recovers for the rest of your life. There is no official compound, drug, or definitive treatment that people would agree to across the United States to cure traumatic brain injury. What we have is we have rehabilitative medicine, and even if rehabilitation is just retraining how to do things, this is an enormous asset that we should take advantage of. And in the United States, the public are very resistant to giving that opportunity to people, primarily because these people are young and they’re uninsured and they become a great cost on society. But if they’re given the opportunity to where they can be placed in a rehabilitative center for an extensive period of time to train them up, to learn how to be independent, to be able to have a new set of coping skills that they have to learn, they can continue to contribute to society and not be a burden on it. So from a public point of view, it’s this perception that this is a crippled individual, mentally crippled individual, and this is something we need to give up on. No, don’t give up on it–recovery occurs for the rest of your life–and give these people the types of treatment that they deserve. From a medical point of view, the brain has always been a very complicated organ. And you start to think about–I remember a physician telling me it’s silly to try to figure out what happens after brain injury because it’s sort of like when the towers went down in New York on 9/11. What happens is that everything gets destroyed, and what you’re measuring or what you’re looking at is just the dump trucks taking the garbage away. And that analogy stuck with me, and I thought–you know–that is somebody who is hopeless, who doesn’t understand the potential, that it isn’t all over at that time. There’s a whole city here of New York. You just took out a couple of towers. And, yes, it was a devastating event, but what happens after that is what’s more important in how you can restructure it. It is a very complicated thing to study. It is something that doesn’t pay well. You go in the middle of the night to take out a subdural hematoma. You get called on a Friday night, a Saturday night. Head injuries don’t happen at 10 o’clock in the morning on a Monday. So it is a very big, taxing event for a physician to be involved in this type of work. But I would argue it is–and I’m biased, of course–but I think it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life, and I would encourage more physicians to do that.

23 thoughts on “Recovery from Brain Injury Occurs for the Rest of a Person’s Life”

  1. This is one of the best articulated and most insightful speeches I have witnessed. As the father of a sever TBI son, it resonated well and, based on my experience, is very accurate. Looking forward to continued improvement and acceptance.

  2. Amen Sir. 4.5 years into my 2nd TBI (happened when I was 48) and it's still a daily, annoying pain in the ass. The first TBI was bad enough(2008) but I did recover a little better but the 2nd TBI has been much more of a challenge especially in the emotional department not to mention the headaches, fatigue, ringing in the ears. I suppose it will be possible to continue to improve but Im not very optimistic that I'll ever be the same person I was before 2012.

  3. Hi, my brother in law met an accident after that he had head injury (internal). It is now 24 days after surgery, still he is unable to remember anything. No past memory, can not remember names, can not recognize his parents. I mean nothing, no memory. But yes he had etiquette, he knows how to talk, eat and dress. We are worried how long it will take to get his memory back. As per surgeon, it is left brain injury so will take time. How Long………………

  4. What happening if the patient had lack of oxygen for 27 mins , maybe brain some blood clot situaton,the patient now unconscious , part of general reflex lost , machine assist breathing…..How and what are the best I can help to regain conscious….And further steps to rehabilitation?

  5. Fuck i hope so, been dealing with a braun injury for years, but was passed off as nothing more than anxiety, it was when i was 5 years in that i decided to see a neurologist, even though being told that they wont find anything wrong. They found abnormal amount of lesions all over my frontal lobe… During that time i drank excessively due to hopelessness and not being heard. I was told that i have thought epilepsy, i have recently stopped drinking and going to see another neurologist… Im suicidal fuck i need hope. Been left in the dark with no clear direction. If this is permanent and doesnt improve by 10%, im out…

  6. Thanks Doc, i have had seizures in past, i have mo went 14 months seizure free….my meds are 300mg dilation, 2.0mg a day of clonazepam (0.5mg Γ—4 a day), and 1000mg keppra, is there a chsnce the neurologists have found the 'recipe', for me, i have read after 5 years on the same meds you body and become 'saturated' with the AED drugs and likely good for life, i am only 40 years old, i had my TBI IN 2012, do you know anything about 'saturation' of meds in the body??, thanks!!! GREAT VIDEO btw

  7. I ve massive brain injury. Hemorragic stroke. Left. A year ago. Coma 2 months. I woke up. Now i remember things back. But when i unconscious until i woke up. I dont remember none! Who is coming. What im talking about with my friends who visited me. I almost blind. Cant eat. Cant breath. My last I rememebered. I vomited inside ambulance car several times. And cant breath Im no surgery. Its hard. Its deep insidw the hematoma

  8. yes we recover I'm a survivor I was hit by a car at the age of four and still have a dent in the front above my fourhead on the right side

  9. Being I have a TBI and many more years to come I plan on just doing things to keep my mind fresh. I'll regress like I do from time to time the rest of my life but I'm ok with that just how life goes.

  10. depending on the severity of the damage I suppose recovery in time would be a possibility if the injury was quite mild..

  11. Currently dealing with this .. this is the hardest thing I ever had to deal with the headaches 24/7 dizziness n it been 2 n half years still not fully recovered

  12. This is great. There is little help for those past hospital stay and for ones you can find, it cost lots… too much.

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