What is Life Like after a Severe Brain Injury?

Brain injuries often permanently affect the lives of accident survivors. Survivors can have disabilities, such as short-term memory loss, inability to focus, loss of vision, aphasia and impaired impulse control. In addition to health problems, survivors can face social stigma, loss of career or difficulty managing finances.

Many survivors with brain injuries will undergo extensive rehabilitation to learn how to adapt to normal life activities. Let us use a hypothetical story to describe what it can be like to sustain a brain injury, go through rehabilitation and return to a life as close to normal as possible.

Life After a Severe Brain Injury: Gary’s Story

Gary was a 41-year-old website developer with a beautiful wife, nice home and close-knit group of friends. One day, Gary was cycling home from work when a vehicle struck him while crossing an intersection. Ten days later, Gary awakens from his coma in the local hospital. Something is wrong; he cannot see out of his left eye and vision in his right is blurry and distorted. He wants to ask the doctors in his room “what happened?” but the words do not come out correctly. The ability to remember something for more than five minutes seems non-existent. Gary is scared, and so are his family members and friends who have just been notified he has woken up.

Fortunately, Gary has a loving family and friends who encourage him through rehabilitation. After months of speech and physical therapy, Gary returns home. Although he can no longer work in web development, his family has helped him find another career speaking to other brain injury survivors at the local hospital.

Not all stories have a happy ending like Gary’s, and symptoms of brain injuries vary depending on many factors. However, family and friends can have a significant role in helping individuals with brain injuries recover from what is arguably one of the most difficult situations a person can ever face.

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