Documentary turns spotlight on traumatic brain injuries


Most of the injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents are all too apparent - no one doubts when a person has experienced broken bones. But many Tennessee car accident victims suffer from injuries that are harder to detect and harder to treat: traumatic brain injuries.

A new documentary that aired recently on HBO brought attention to traumatic brain injuries through telling the story of a young athlete who was seriously injured in an accident while trying out for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

As told in "The Crash Reel," Snowboarder Kevin Pearce was training to try out for the games a few days before the Olympic trials in 2009 when he slipped and slammed his head into an icy wall. Although he was wearing a helmet, the impact was so severe that he suffered traumatic brain injury. He had to learn to walk and talk again. To this day, he still suffers dizziness and memory loss.

Doctors cleared Pearce to snowboard again two years later, but he said the injury has forced him to change his life. He has helped put together a campaign called "Love Your Brain" to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur every year. These injuries are caused by a bump, blow, jolt or penetrating wound to the head. They range from mild injuries that cause temporary symptoms or unconsciousness to severe injuries that require medical treatment and have long-term effects. Some can cause permanent disability.

According to some studies, nearly 100,000 Americans suffer serious brain injuries every year. Many of these occur as a result of car accidents.

Symptoms of brain injury can include confusion and memory problems, unusual sluggishness, nausea and dizziness, severe headaches and weakness along one side of the body. Symptoms are often apparent soon after the injury, but sometimes may manifest themselves later.

It's important for those who have suffered an injury to the head to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. When the injury is the result of an accident caused by someone else's negligence, the injured may be compensated for medical expenses and other damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Yahoo! News, "From 'corpse' to inspiration: Snowboarder's recovery from traumatic brain injury subject of new film," Dylan Stableford, July 15

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