An estimated 1.5 million Americans will sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year in the U.S., according to the CDC. Of those, 230,000 will be hospitalized and survive, and up to 90,000 will experience long-term disability.

Alison Delgado was a medical resident at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital when she suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being hit by a car while bicycling. In addition to a broken clavicle, broken jaw, several broken vertebrae, she suffered a severe bleed around her brain. After being comatose for five days, she was sent to an inpatient rehabilitation facility where she learned she had weakness on the right side of her body and a severe speech deficit.

Three days after she returned home, an aneurysm that had developed from the accident burst, and she was sent back to the hospital, losing all the progress she had made. Delgado describes the hopelessness and fear she felt in a post for the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association.

After intense therapy and rehabilitation, Delgado went on to run a marathon, publish a book and become a board-certified pediatrician. “I know that there are so many survivors out there like me,” she writes. “Keep setting goals and keep pushing forward.”

TBIs can be a complex and devastating injury for caregivers as well.

After Preeti Pahal’s mother sustained a severe TBI from a head-on car collision, she was in the hospital for five months recovering from multiple fractures, bilateral cerebral contusions and meningitis. When she was finally discharged and moved into Pahal’s home, she had a tracheostomy along with a T-tube, urine catheter and PEG feeding tube. She was alert but could not speak and had pronounced cognitive disabilities.

Pahal took over her mother’s care routine such as administering medicine, baths and feeding. As her mother’s condition approved, Pahal, who was only 20 years old at the time, made efforts to improve her hand grips, memory recall, and leg movement by devising her own therapy and exercise techniques.

“I want to tell the whole world that the recovery of a severe head injury patient is painfully slow,” Pahal writes. “Please do not lose heart and courage when your loved ones have to face such a big medical problem.”

Patients and Their Caregivers Need Ample TBI Support

Whether you are the patient, a caregiver, or even a physician, TBIs are an overwhelming and confounding injury to navigate. There are many complications that could follow immediately or long after a TBI, and the more severe the TBI, the greater the likelihood of more severe complications.

These complications can range from physical to emotional and behavioral and can greatly affect the type of care that a TBI patient will need as they work to transition back to their daily lives. Many people with TBIs require rehabilitation, which typically starts in a hospital and can be continued through an inpatient rehabilitation unit, residential treatment facility or patient services.

As a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed by the extensive rehabilitation process your loved one may have to go through—there are so many options, how can you know if you are choosing the right ones? As a patient, what role can you play in your own healing process?

In the below TBI Support Guide, discover the scope of support options that exist for those managing TBIs either in their own lives or for others. Resources include both virtual and in-person support groups, active clinical trials, webinars on navigating professional and personal issues resulting from the injury, and even a tool to assess your own well-being as a caregiver.

View the Traumatic Brain Injury Support Guide

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