Since I have decided to dedicate this summer’s coast-to-coast bike ride to raising awareness and money for traumatic brain injury (TBI), it is only fitting that I start writing about it as well. So for the next couple of months leading up to the ride (which we plan to start on July 9th), and during the ride itself, not only will I be writing about my training, preparations, and the ride itself, I will be writing about TBIs as well.
I have never suffered a TBI myself, despite the numerous times I have hit my head on things or been hit in the head (not all blows to the head cause a TBI), but I work with them on a regular basis. I am an athletic trainer, which is in the field of sports medicine, and I have been working with athletes for over 20 years. I currently evaluate over 50 head injuries a year, with a good number of them being concussions. Most of them have recovered quickly and simply, but I have had a couple that did not, and the individuals suffered the effects for quite some time. I have also known several people that have had more severe TBIs that were life altering, and from which they will never fully recover. TBI is a part of my life and something that concerns me.
Concussions are often referred to as mild TBIs (mTBI) though some of them can take months, years, or may never fully resolve. A common misconception is that concussions only happen in football, soccer, hockey, or that they only happen in sports. I have seen concussions in pretty much every sport. While football, soccer, and hockey may lead the way, I have seen them in tennis, squash, fencing, track, cross country and pretty much every sport I have worked with. The fact of the matter is they, like all TBIs, can happen to anyone anywhere. Car accidents, slips and falls, falling objects, and more can happen at any time. I actually know of someone that got a concussion while lying in bed at home. A window mounted AC unit came loose and landed on their head while they were sleeping.
Another misconception about concussions and TBI is that the person knows that they have them, or that you can look at someone and know whether they have one. The facts are though that often the individual may go days, weeks, or even months before they realize they have a problem and not even a neurologist can simply look at someone and determine whether they have a TBI. The list of concussion symptoms is quite long, and just because someone was not knocked unconscious or never had a head ache does not mean that they did not, or are not, suffering a TBI. This is a hidden injury, and victims often suffer alone because others do not see anything wrong with them. Their continually knocking things over or tripping over nothing is not their being clumsy, it is a result of their TBI. The slurred speech, stutter, or tripping over words that you are mocking them for is not their fault. Their forgetfulness is not them. Their continual fatigue is not their being lazy. They have a serious injury with which they are struggling.
My ride this summer is to help raise awareness about TBIs, and to raise money which will help those that suffer from them. Please follow along as I prepare for and as I ride from the west to the east coast. I will post of my adventures as well as more information about TBIs and helpful links. Please consider donating to my ride (All money raised goes directly to charity. I am self-funding my ride).
#TBI #mTBI #TraumaticBrainInjury #BrainInjuryAwareness #BrainInjury #NotAlone
#NotAloneInBrainInjury #Concussion #TransAmRide4TBI