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Is it a Brain Injury? by Cheryl Green

Cheryl Green

 Is it a Brain Injury?

Oh, I do that too!

Sometimes I forget a name. People without brain injury try to make me feel better with, “Oh, I do that too! Maybe I have a brain injury! Ha, ha!” That doesn’t make me feel better. Before my TBI, I forgot names sometimes. I just didn’t forget my own family members’ names and call them “Um, Excuse Me.”

That doesn’t mean it’s a brain injury

Everyone has something they’re not great at. My mom has lost her keys every day of her adult life. She’s not brain-injured. She’s just not good at paying attention to where things are in a room.  And, she’s always doing two things at once.  We all develop differently and get different educations, experiences and opportunities.

It’s one thing to forget a name. But sometimes I don’t recognize the concept of “name” and can’t understand how you get someone’s attention. So, I hit them. That is brain injury, not your everyday “forgetting a name.”

Playing sports can cause brain injury

Or what if it is a brain injury?

Since I started making films about living with brain injury, people have been coming out of the woodwork with stories like this:

I had a bike wreck with no helmet a few years ago. When I watched you in your film, I thought gosh, I act like her all the time. I wonder if I have a brain injury.”

Or this: “I got knocked unconscious lots of times playing hockey and football as a kid. I wonder if that’s why I get lost all the time and can’t stay organized.”

This is much, much more common than most people realize.

Raise awareness

Instead of thinking a little flub now and then means you have a brain injury, we need to raise awareness of how brain injury happens and how the impairments can affect your whole life.

It is never too late to recognize these things and learn strategies to get more organized or compensate for poor attention. You don’t have to wave a Brain Injury Pride flag and go to support group meetings every week. But you can understand that these changes that won’t go away might be part of a real injury to your brain. And there are a lot of us out here ready and willing to lend some kind support.