Last Sunday (5/5/13), I watched a segment on 60 Minutes entitled: “Invisible wounds of war”. The show focused on veterans who sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Public awareness of TBI is slowly increasing, primarily as a result of greater exposure by the media to sports and combat related injuries.
Yet, we still have a long way to go!
Most people with mild traumatic brain injury are still subjected to misconceptions about their condition. The general public still believes it is easy to fake a brain injury. Surprisingly, symptoms of brain injury manifest long after the initial event. Even doctors (and other professionals) often do not appreciate the multiple symptoms associated with mild TBI and fail to give it the recognition and legitimacy it deserves. Routine conventional imaging such as CT scan does not always indicate evidence of brain injury, even though it exists.
This was dramatically brought home in the 60 minutes segment, which showed the latest brain scanning technology, which is unavailable to the vast majority of individuals. This new technology often displays evidence of brain injury that was not evident on conventional CT scanning.
For me, the most moving part of the segment was when retired Army Major Richards, who suffered from brain injury, was shown his scan.
“It does seem to really affirm that this is a physical injury. You know, I’ve actually been damaged. This is not something that’s just made up. It really lifts a burden that there’s a reason why I have trouble getting back to… normal”.
As I was listening to this brave man, I couldn’t help thinking about all the humble individuals I see everyday. Most of them are not veterans, or famous athletes, but regular everyday folks like you and me, who suffer because of these invisible/silent wounds.
They too yearn for this kind of affirmation of their brain injury. They are not faking it.
It is time to educate the public and to put an end to false beliefs and misconceptions!
To watch the episode please click on the link below.