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Other brain injury FAQs

What is a brain stem injury?

A brain stem injury creates problems with mobility, motor control and other central functions, since the brain stem controls many physiological systems. Patients may experience difficulty standing, walking, lifting, throwing, getting up, feeding oneself and a host of other typical daily activities.

People with brain stem injuries tend to require extensive medical supervision.

What is a frontal lobe injury?

An injury to the frontal lobes affects the brain’s cognitive and behavioural functions. The frontal lobes integrate and mediate various messages and responses. When a patient demonstrates executive deficits, or a loss of higher thinking, neuropsychologists relate this to the frontal lobe.

Because of the structure of the brain and the areas of the skull around it, frontal lobe injuries are extremely common. Most severe brain injuries involve the effects of contra coup injuries, rotational or shearing injuries.

Contra coup injuries involve the brain moving backwards and forwards and striking the skull. Rotational or shearing injuries are caused by sideways movement or the twisting of the brain inside the skull. These injuries will involve more parts of the brain and cause the lost of connectivity between areas of the brain, since neurons between them will be stretched and torn.

Does the location of the injury affect its severity?

The location of a brain injury can affect the severity of the problems experienced by the victim throughout the course of their recovery and rehabilitation period. Depending on the location, the effects of their injuries could be life-long.

Due to the complex nature of the brain, very few brain injuries are simple or non-severe.

How likely is a person to return to an independent lifestyle after a serious brain injury?

While there are no guarantees of a full recovery, it is possible for people to make large improvement. Sometimes, this recovery can continue for many years after the injury. Many victims of serious brain injury can enjoy purposeful, meaningful lives with their loved ones.

What happens to a person who suffers multiple concussions?

When a person suffers a concussion their nerve fibres can be stretched and torn. Multiple concussions mean that more stretching and tearing would occur. Eventually, these cumulative injuries would take longer to heal and more time would be required for recovery.

If the victim of multiple concussions did not lose consciousness at any time, they would not receive a full medical examination, but could still have serious injuries. That’s why all sports coaches are encouraged to treat every head injury as a serious matter and ensure that players receive adequate medical attention.

Recent medical research has also shown that repetitive concussions could lead to the development of protein tangles called TAU, which have been linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

How do people respond to serious sports related injuries?

Brain injury victims can have great difficulty understanding the feelings they experience after the incident. They may refer to going crazy or feeling depressed. Some endure bad headaches and fatigue, along with mood swings, bad tempers, problems with concentration, attention, appetite and even sleep. A change in sex drive is also a common response to a head injury.

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