This blog is part 2 of “Brain Injury Myths DEBUNKED.” To see part 1, click here.
There are unfortunately hundreds of myths about brain injury which you can find all over the Internet. This information is not only misleading, but for brain injury survivors, it can be just plain hurtful. Keeping that in mind, we came up with some top myths, some of which were inspired by some great conversation on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so thanks to all who comment and keep the conversation going! We’ve been posting these myths on Facebook and Twitter for the last few months to help increase awareness, so here are the final five all in one place.
This is unfortunately one of the most common myths. Because a person cannot tell if someone has a brain injury just by looking at him or her, many believe the individual is “fine” weeks, months and years post-injury. However, that person is likely involved in various types of rehabilitation and typically experiences a number of issues, including headaches, brain fatigue, and sensitivity to noise, among others. In school-age children and student athletes, teammates and even teachers, parents and school administrators often have their doubts about how long these issues can affect an individual who has sustained a concussion. Students may need extra time on homework, frequent breaks throughout the day and other accommodations weeks, months and even years after the injury.
Whether you’re wearing a helmet for contact sports like football or hockey, or sporting one when riding a bike, motorcycle or horse, there’s no doubt that a helmet is one of the most important types of protective gear you can wear. Wearing a helmet can save your life. “Helmets provide a 63 to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists.” However, no helmet can guarantee a person won’t sustain a brain injury. Helmets were created to prevent skull fracture and death by a blow to the head – they were and are not equipped to prevent all brain injuries. With that said, it can most definitely reduce the risk. To ensure you protect your head and get the most out of your helmet, make sure it fits properly.
This myth is one that many survivors find especially irritating. The brain is complex. There is so much we’ve discovered in the last decade – even the last year or two – about the brain and brain injury, but there is still so much we do not know. What we do know is that every brain injury is different, and despite all the research that has been done about rehabilitation and the “road to recovery,” there is no time limit on progress. Survivors continue to make progress days, weeks, months and years after the injury. To say no more progress will be made more than a year after the injury is completely false.
While children often recover faster after an injury, they do not when it comes to brain injury. Some believe this is because a child’s brain is still developing and sustaining a brain injury before the brain finishes maturing could cause serious issues.
This is such a common myth among those who might not know what a brain injury truly is or how it can affect a person. Every brain injury is different and every brain injury survivor is different. No case is exactly the same. Although a brain injury can leave survivors with devastating effects – like issues with senses, retention, memory, and even walking and talking – many people go on to make progress in leaps and bounds, re-learning everyday, important skills and eventually reintegrating into the community. Many survivors return to full- or part-time work, volunteer or find new hobbies. As Madeline Uretsky, who suffered two concussions within months of each other, says, “Just because life is different than it used to be, doesn’t mean it isn’t as great—you just have to find a way to make it as great, even if you have to do it differently.” We couldn’t agree more.