Lives of families of brain injury victims also change

A severe brain injury usually affects more than the person who sustains it. Most people have family, like a spouse, children or parents, whose lives also change. They do not suffer from the symptoms of a TBI, but they must now live with a loved one who may be permanently disabled.

More importantly, in many cases a loved one becomes the primary caregiver for the victim. Depending on how much help the caregiver gets from family, friends and professionals, he or she may have to give up their career to do so. Besides that, caregiving can be emotionally difficult, physically exhausting and socially isolating.

The story of a woman outside of Pennsylvania provides an example. In April 2014, her son suffered severe brain trauma in a motocross accident. Today, he is relearning to walk and talk, and rebuilding bodily strength, with the help of in-home physical therapists.

His mother left her business to attend to his needs full-time. She makes his food and helps him control his emotions, which were affected by the accident. To pay for more advanced rehabilitation and other needs, the family started a charity, which is sponsoring a fundraiser concert featuring singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. The charity will also provide support and education for other caregivers of TBI victims.

The mother called the past year “a long, hard road,” and she admits she still is figuring out day by day how to help her son. Many families will likely share this sense of confusion and doubt. One way a person disabled by a brain injury can be helped is through litigation against the party that caused the injury, if there was one.