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badge2Living with brain injury, whether it is caused by a traumatic injury, stroke, tumor, infection, or illness, is a lifelong journey for survivors, families, and caregivers. The Brain Injury Blog is about more than the care, treatment and rehabilitation of those who survive brain injury. It is about the journey of brain injury from the perspectives of those who live with it as well as those who provide care, treatment and support. Survival is just the first step in living with brain injury. Please join us in the journey of hope after brain injury.

You Can Do More Than You Think as a TBI Survivor! by William Jarvis, Ed.D.

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William Jarvis is a TBI survivor who found that moving his home became an analogy for moving forward with his life and not allowing his TBI to limit his future. It’s been 14 years since his brain injury and he still deals with fatigue – both cognitive and physical fatigue. But he has found strategies that recharge him and help him accomplish what he needs to do during the day. While many survivors focus on the challenges and limitations, Jarvis suggests that engagement with life – not the past – is the key to moving forward. Moving his home became an analogy for moving forward with his life.

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Sports and Concussion – Where Young Brains Need Time to Develop by Phil Hossler, ATC

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Sports and concussion carry special risks for children and adolescents because their brains are still developing. Athletic trainer Phil Hossler shares data on sports concussions in school age children and discusses why it is critical for athletes, coaches, parents, educators and school nurses to become informed. The impact of a concussion can extend far beyond the playing field to the classroom and home. Only by early diagnosis and careful management can athletes and students receive the rest, supports and accommodations that may be needed.

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Talking with Your Spouse or Charlie Brown’s Teacher? Miscommunication in Couples after Brain Injury by Dawn Neumann, PhD

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Couples after brain injury often find that their relationship changes in many ways, particularly their ability to communicate with each other. One partner often feels frustrated, angry, guilty and even avoids the other. Good communication is the foundation for a good relationship. Without it, relationships are as vulnerable as a house of cards. Miscommunication after a brain injury tends to revolve around the couple’s inability to share and understand each other’s emotions and needs. Dr. Dawn Neumann gives couples strategies on how to communicate more effectively.

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Executive Skills after Brain Injury in Children and Teens by Janet Tyler, Ph.D.

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Students with TBI often have injuries to their frontal lobes causing changes in their executive skills after brain injury. This can make it harder for them to initiate activities, plan and prioritize, organize their work, problem solve, and control impulses. Getting through the day at school and completing homework at home can be a struggle. Dr. Janet Tyler explains how specific classroom strategies can help these students learn more effectively and improve their executive skills after brain injury.

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My Issues Become the Paper’s Issues: Why I Write Now by Matthew Brown

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Writing got me in touch with my emotions after I came home from Iraq. Through writing about my life during my time in the Marine Corps and after, I started to get in touch with the deep down, raw emotions of the darkest corners of my mind. They truly scared me, and I really did not know what to do with them. With encouragement from my wife and some pushing from Melanie, I started to express these emotions on paper, in ways I never had before. The power of releasing those emotions was amazing. I started to feel the stress of the hard times in my life beginning to fade. They never will go away, because they are part of me, but they started to fade. I just started writing, and my writing became free form poetry.

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Writing to Heal: The Veterans Writing Project by Barbara Stahura

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Ron Capps manages the Veterans’ Writing Project which helps wounded warriors manage stress and cope with PTSD and TBI by writing and journaling as self-expression. “Either you control the memory or the memory controls you.” These words on a sign in Ron Capps’ office remind him not only of how he has learned to deal with his own past but also how his new work helps others. Fortunately, he learned from his doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that “the arts bring back the higher brain function.” Writing, his chosen art, helps him get control of his traumatic memories, unlike “therapy, medication, and whiskey,” which didn’t, he says

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A Grief Misunderstood by Carolyn Roy-Bornstein, MD

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My son Neil had been hit by a drunk teenaged hit-and-run driver while walking his girlfriend, Trista, home. He was taken to the local hospital where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and quickly transferred to a Boston hospital’s intensive care unit. His girlfriend was not so “lucky.” She succumbed to massive head trauma and the next day was taken off life support.

I knew we had a long road ahead of us. Neil spent days in the ICU, months in physical rehab, and years in therapy and on anti-depressants. I grieved for everything Neil had lost: not only his girlfriend but also his memory, his concentration, his executive function, his sense of humor. What should have been the time of his life—senior prom, high school graduation, getting into the college of his choice—just turned out to be one long struggle.

But with my grief came guilt.

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Strategies to Rebuild Your Life after Brain Injury by David Grant

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Traumatic brain is like a giant eraser that removed parts of your life. David Grant explores how he developed strategies, that along with his personal stubborness, helped him reclaim his life. Strategies don’t remove the challenges but they can help improve the quality of your life – as his experience shows.

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From Unlucky, Unlovely, and Unlovable and Unlucky to Lucky, Resilient, and Loved by Christine Durham, PhD

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Christine Durham describes the excruciating journey of rediscovering her self after her brain injury. It starts with a piece of pie.

I found myself standing in the middle of the shopping mall with pie dripping from my hands, pie covering the front of my coat, and to my bewilderment, my daughter, Ann, who’d brought me on this shopping trip, ran away. I didn’t blame her. I’d run away from me too, if I could! I was so ashamed! I didn’t know what to do so I kept on trying to eat the pie. I’d been apprehensive about this outing to the shops, several months after I’d left the hospital after my car accident, but I hadn’t realized I’d be so totally confused and lost.

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Five Foundation Skills for the Resilient Caregiver by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Caregiving for a family member who has a brain injury – whether it be a spouse, sibling, parent, or child – is stressful. Whether you are a new caregiver or an experienced caregiver, these five foundations skills can improve your health and resilience. Janet Cromer explains how to use self-compassion to care for yourself, how to counterbalance your stress response, and how to live mindfully. She explores the importance of connections with others for support and outlets to express your creativity. By using these skills, caregivers are better equipped to deal with the uncertainty and loss of control that is so often inherent in caregiving.

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