woman looking out window

Brain Injury Awareness: Seeing the Invisible Disability

When an injury or illness is validated by visible symptoms, no one questions whether it is real. To do so would be insensitive and rude. As well, when the world around us can see the injury with their own eyes, they are more likely to extend compassion and understanding. For example, if you approached a store entrance on crutches, a stranger might hold the door for you.

Now imagine that you have an injury that no one can see. On the outside, you look perfectly healthy and capable. Yet inside, you struggle to remember your birth year. Headaches, mental fatigue and restless nights are a normal part of your life. On certain days, sheer exhaustion and overwhelming gloom drive you to isolate from others for no apparent reason. Still, even those who are closest to you insist that you seem “fine.” They have no idea how hard you are trying just to keep up.

This is just a glimpse into what is reality for many brain injury survivors.

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain injury is one of the four hidden disabilities. To that end, it’s suitable that March has been designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month. For more than 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has spearheaded America in observing this month with three goals:

  • De-stigmatizing brain injury through outreach within the brain injury community
  • Empowering brain injury survivors and their caregivers
  • Promoting the many types of support available to those living with brain injury

The topic of brain injury is clouded with myths and misunderstandings. While most people are well-intentioned, many are sadly misinformed about the “invisible disability,” mostly by the media and entertainment industries. The BIAA seeks to remedy this by raising awareness, supporting brain injury survivors and providing education about the disability, which affects an estimated 5.3 million people every year.

brain injury awareness month

Prevalence & Causes of Brain Injury

Brain injury refers to any damage done by insult to the brain, while traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any injury that disrupts the function of the brain (Brain Injury Alliance). For a brief glance into the seriousness of the matter, here are a few quick stats:

  • Approximately 1.5 million Americans get TBI’s every year
  • In Connecticut alone, 36,000 hospitalizations, ED visits and deaths occur from TBI each year
  • Adolescents, young adults and people over 75 are at the highest risk
  • Men are twice more likely to get a TBI

Car accidents are the leading cause of TBI, more than violence and fall-related causes.

Not only are brain injuries highly common, perhaps an equally serious concern is that they are often under diagnosed. This is due in large part to the fact that the long-term effects of brain injury are not immediately apparent.

In Connecticut alone, 36,000 hospitalizations, ED visits and deaths occur from TBI each year.

With thousands of brain injuries occurring each day, ask yourself: do I know how to spot the signs of a brain injury? Familiarizing yourself with a few tips could be critical in a time of need.

Signs of Concussion

Just as with being able to recognize the signs of a heart attack, knowing what to look for after a head injury could greatly impact the treatment a survivor receives, their chances of recovery and could even save their life in certain cases.

Concussions are one of the most common types of brain injury. Pay close attention to the following symptoms after trauma to the head and report them to a medical professional immediately:

  • Headache or “pressure” in the head
  • Temporary unconsciousness
  • Brain fog, confusion
  • Amnesia about the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue

These indicators could show right away, yet others might take hours or even days to surface, such as:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability or personality changes
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Depression

brain injury in children

Traumatic brain injury in children is slightly more difficult to detect since children aren’t always able to describe how they feel. In this case, watch for excessive crying, fatigue, a lack of interest in activities or irritability.

Common Misconceptions About Brain Injury

For brain injury survivors, dealing with an injury no one can see and even fewer understand can become quickly discouraging. To say the least, the disability is highly misunderstood. It is no wonder that survivors face a barrage of misunderstandings about their condition.

One of the most tragic mistakes to make is confusing apathy with laziness in a brain injury survivor. Apathy – a lack of interest, motivation or emotion – occurs in at least a quarter of survivors and has been connected with acute brain damage.

Not only is mistaking a survivor’s apathy for laziness poor judgment, a careless comment about it can actually set them back in their post-injury progress. Understanding the difference is critical, even for the sufferer, who might be plagued by unrealistic self-imposed expectations about their recovery.

What Not to Say to Someone With a Brain Injury

You may be surprised to learn how powerful your words can be in either helping or hurting a person dealing with brain injury. Keep in mind that the two main struggles for survivors are regaining their independence and sense of control. With that, here are a few things you should not say to a person with a brain injury:

“Let me do that for you.”

Well-meaning loved ones might be tempted to perform simple tasks that have now become painstaking for a survivor. Avoid the temptation to intervene, regardless of how much easier or faster it will make things. The exception to this is when the act puts your loved one at risk, such as making important decisions or attempting to drive too soon after the injury.

“You seem fine to me.”

Your loved one does not feel fine, even if he or she may look it. It might seem positive to say this, though it will more than likely come off as uncaring and hurtful to a brain injury survivor. A seemingly harmless statement like this can minimize the internal conflict, heartache and emotions that are commonly experienced by survivors.

On the contrary, there are ways that you can encourage a brain injury survivor and aid in their healing process.

Ways to Support Brain Injury Survivors

Below are just a few ways to best support a person living with a brain injury:

  • DO be patient. This applies to many of the cognitive effects of a brain injury, including memory loss and relearning everyday skills.
  • DO be a good listener. Resist the urge to admonish, correct or “fix” your loved one, who is likely trying to get a handle on their emotions. Instead, be a listening ear and tell them their feelings matter. At times, your availability will be the strongest support you can offer.
  • DO acknowledge their courage and strength. Your loved one is trying their best and might be a little hard on him or herself. Affirm them by verbalizing how strong and brave they are for trying and making it through a tough experience.

Get Involved With Brain Injury Awareness

Perhaps the best way to support someone living with a brain injury – whether it is a loved one or acquaintance – is to be informed about the disability. This takes minimal time,  and this article is a good start.

Easy ways to show you care can be:

  • Sharing this blog
  • Becoming an advocate with BIAA
  • Reading and sharing brain injury stories, including your own
  • Making a donation to the BIAA

You can also check the BIAA website for more ways to get involved with this month’s campaign and use the hashtag #ChangeYourMind on social media.

Of course, if you or a loved one recently sustained a brain injury that you believe might have been preventable, reach out to The Flood Law Firm at (877) 987-9529 with any questions. We are available to help you understand your options moving forward.

Six Years After Sandy Hook: Are Tighter Gun Laws Working?

Woman at Sandy Hook memorial

A woman stands at a memorial for victims from the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Photo: Justin Lane via NBC News

It’s been almost six years since a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 young children, six educators, his mother and himself on December 14, 2012.

The devastation was unimaginable. Flanked by mothers and fathers who lost their children, Governor Dan Malloy signed into law sweeping gun regulation just four months after the Newtown tragedy.

Connecticut has since been commended on a national level as a leader in gun control. Continue reading

Knowing Your Rights After a Burn Injury

bandaged burn injury

Did you know that each year in the United States, 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention? (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Unfortunately, many burn injuries are often the result of preventable accidents. Whether it occurs on the job, from a defective product or chemical, even mild burn injuries can be devastating.

Serious burn injury cases are complex and require an experienced attorney to represent your case accurately. Read on to learn more about your legal rights if you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury and are considering legal help. Continue reading

Helmet Law to Pass in Wake of Skateboarder’s Death

helmets protect against skateboarding injury

On November 25, 2016, 14-year-old Conor Irwin was skateboarding with friends. When his board skidded on some leaves, he lost control and fell to the ground. Conor hit his head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.

He wasn’t wearing a helmet. 

Conor suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after striking his head. He was diagnosed with irreparable injuries including a skull fracture and brain bruising. As a result, Conor later died from his injuries. Continue reading

The Difference Between Hiring an Attorney & Representing Yourself

speaking with an attorney

“He who represents himself is a fool for a client.” –Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln was an attorney. As brilliant as he was, he understood when to accept help and that the courtroom is no place for egos.

For a person unfamiliar with the legal process, it might sound easier to just go to court without an attorney. However, few understand the practical differences between representing yourself and hiring an attorney.

For example, the average person receives a settlement three and a half times larger with legal assistance than without it (Insurance Research Council).

If you’re still undecided about the best way to pursue a negligent party for your losses, we break down the differences between hiring an attorney and representing yourself Continue reading

baby in carseat

4 Safety Tips to Prevent Potential Injury & Disaster

You’ve got plans this summer, no doubt. The last thing you and your loved ones need is an injury or accident to cut in on those long-awaited plans for fun. No matter the time of year, proper safety and prevention is always in season.

The Flood Law Firm wants to help ensure your summer starts off right by challenging your family with the NSC’s 4 areas of preventable safety measures.

Did you know?: The National Safety Council (NSC) reported a shocking 161,374 avoidable deaths and 44.5 million preventable injuries in 2016?

It’s time to improve these statistics! With June being National Safety Month, it’s the perfect time to think of how you and your family can take simple steps to help prevent potential disaster. Continue reading

kid at trampoline park

The Risk & Liability of Trampolines

With their appeal to both kids and grown-ups, trampoline parks are popular without a doubt. They are fun, go-to venues where people of all ages can enjoy themselves. In spite of their attraction, what many don’t know about these attractions are the countless injuries children suffer every year at these facilities.

Children at Higher Risk for Injury

Related injuries are now higher than ever. A 2016 study published in Pediatrics revealed that trampoline-park related hospitalizations grew from 600 in 2010 to nearly 7,000 in 2014. Continue reading

Project Graduation & TFLF Raise Funds for Portland High Sober Grad Party

After an entire childhood’s worth of homework, skinning knees at recess and pizza Fridays, teens are finally ready to say goodbye to their alma mater and welcome a new chapter in their lives. High school seniors are getting ready to don their caps and gowns for a long-anticipated milestone: Graduation day.

Graduating high school is no small feat and deserves to be celebrated. But graduation parties filled with underage drinking and risky behavior are no way to start off adulthood. With your support, we can help give teens a celebration they will actually remember.

The Project Graduation Committee is a parent group seeking to raise funds for a sober graduation party for Portland High School’s class of 2018.

Simply like and share this post with your family and friends and The Flood Law Firm will donate $5 for every like and $10 per share.*

Teenage Drinking: How Big is the Problem?

Alcohol use among teens is a national epidemic. In fact, alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among youth in the United States. Continue reading

The Flood Law Firm Recovers $890,000 for Injured Delivery Man

Brookfield Square. Photo: Connecticut Law Tribu

Brookfield Square. Photo: Connecticut Law Tribune

The Flood Law Firm recently secured an $890,000 settlement for a 42-year-old delivery man who severely injured his neck after he slipped on a sheet of ice.

The incident happened in February 2015 when German Perez was delivering furniture to Bassett Furniture at a strip mall in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Attorney and managing firm partner Brian Flood represented Perez. He said the area where Perez fell had a dangerous three-day accumulation of ice that should have been cornered off.

“There was ice on the roof of the building and there were ice dams forming,” said Flood. “The ice dams were also forming on the ground and were not going down the drain.” Continue reading

Distracted Driving Awareness: Be the Driver You Want Your Teen to Be

April is distracted driving monthFor many of us, it’s easy to dismiss the seriousness of sending a text while driving or fiddling with the radio more than watching the road. But this is distracted driving and it takes on many forms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than eight people are killed each day in the United States due to distracted driving. The most alarming truth about this statistic is the fact that these types of car accidents are increasing. According to the most recent study the number traffic crashes due to distracted driving in Connecticut continue to rise.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

While safe driving techniques are important all year long, there is no better time than now to make smart choices behind the wheel and set good examples for your teen driverContinue reading