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Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury), or other features (e.g., occurring in a specific location or over a widespread area). Head injury is a broader category that may involve damage to other structures such as the scalp and skull. TBI can result in physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, and outcome can range from complete recovery to permanent disability or death.

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Most people such as myself, did not know that people with traumatic brain injuries can still have the "normal life" but with some complications. I have had the opportunity to work with people with TBI's for a year now. I love the jokes and sense of humor that each resident brings but behind the humor lies their true feelings and how they deal with the world and everyday task that is easy for me but difficult for them. Some will never have the chance to start their own family, own their own house, go to school, drive, pay their own bills and continue to not have much contact with their own immediate family. I am amazed at how much progress residents make each day. One resident became blind from his accident along with a TBI, but that does not prevent him from playing the guitar and keyboard that he has been familiar with as a kid. He brought out his guitar and played and to see that smile on his face especially when you’re asking him to play his favorite song or encouraging him to play more songs until he is tired. Some of my residents found what they considered to be their significant other and have dated for yeas but for some their longing for a relationship may not happen; some have accepted this and others are still hopeful. There are days where I can be playing four kings in a corner with a resident and he may forget my name during the game, and he’ll talk to me as if he has just met me for the first time or he will ask my name and remember that I've been here for a while.

Contributed by Tia Matthews

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