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How is functioning impacted by a brain injury?

A brain injury impacts everyone differently, but for those with a significant injury, it could mean speech impairment, difficulty walking or other significant impacts on functioning.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) doesn't render those body parts useless. However, it can interfere with how the brain works and recognizes to use those body parts. For example, if you used to be able to walk and can't after an injury to the brain, the portion of the brain that previously learned and communicated how to walk is likely damaged.

Some problems take only weeks or months to recover from, while others take many years. Physical problems that result from brain injuries usually resolve within six to 12 months following the injury. Physical difficulties don't normally prevent individuals from returning to their lives, working or driving. However, despite being able to function as before the injury, physical symptoms, like weakness or trouble with coordination, may still exist.

It's more common for people to struggle with the cognitive, behavioral or emotional damage caused by a brain injury. These can make it hard to return to a normal life. Cognitive injuries may lead to changes in emotion or behavior that impact your family and friends, for example.

Brain injuries are relatively common, especially in cases of motorcycle crashes. These crashes open up victims to a multitude of injuries from being thrown from their motorcycles, hitting vehicles or otherwise being impacted. Although wearing a helmet does help, many motorcyclists deal with brain injuries after crashes and should look into being compensated, so they can focus on recovery and rest.

Source: Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, "Understanding TBI: Part 2 - Brain injury impact on individuals functioning," Thomas Novack, PhD and Tamara Bushnik, PhD, accessed May 21, 2018

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