On Monday, we discussed the suicide of former National Football League (NFL) linebacker Junior Seau, but the video above features a military veteran named John discussing some of the challenges he faced after suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a helicopter crash during his time in the United States Navy. As we mentioned on Monday, severe head injuries are not limited solely to professional football players, as 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI every year. More than half of these injuries are the result of falls or automobile accidents. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) says that the depression following TBI “compounds many of the challenges that individuals with TBI typically face after injury.”
Like John in the video, many TBI victims turn to behaviors that maintain their depression, such as abusing drugs or alcohol. The BIAA says that before victims can be helped, the first step is to acknowledge that they have a problem. Once a victim has admitted that he or she needs help, the next step is to seek professional help, preferably someone who is familiar with brain injury and specializes in helping people with emotional problems as well.
Two of the most common treatments for depression are medications and psychotherapy. Friends and family members can help victims by not only expressing support, but also helping victims find TBI resources in their communities. The Brain Industry Association of Florida (BIAF) offers a list of support groups that provide resources, educational materials and technical assistance where possible. As BIAF notes, TBI victims are encouraged to contact several groups in order to find the one that best meets their needs.
As John states in the video, he still has physical pain that he deals with to this day. However, he used a commitment to caring for his children to stop drinking and seek help for his depression. This should be an important lesson to all TBI victims as well as their friends and families. While a head injury may cause certain difficulties that are irreversible, depression is not one of them.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys