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A point to make about brain injury ...

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  • A point to make about brain injury ...

    In the Eq. Horse Lease thread someone mentions that Francesca Mazella said, "brain injuries take a long time to heal."

    This isn't entirely accurate. I work for a post-acute company that specializes in the treatment of individuals with acquired brain injuries.

    The brain, in fact, doesn't heal. This is one of the great mysteries of the brain - it's basically gray matter, where motor function is really only speculated in terms of lobes/lobal function and purpose.

    What the brain *can* do is relearn. And with a brain injury, many motor and cognitive skills are completely erased. Therapy is required to help the individual relearn these skills, and often they can only be "reassigned" to a certain percentage.

    This is why it's critical to protect your head. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than riding without an approved helmet.

    Do I always? Pretty much yes. But there are times when I haven't. So I'm not preaching to you, just hoping to shed some more light to this ongoing issue.

    There is some great published information at:

    www.cdc.gov
    www.nih.gove
    www.bia-usa.org

    Robby

    You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
    When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    In the Eq. Horse Lease thread someone mentions that Francesca Mazella said, "brain injuries take a long time to heal."

    This isn't entirely accurate. I work for a post-acute company that specializes in the treatment of individuals with acquired brain injuries.

    The brain, in fact, doesn't heal. This is one of the great mysteries of the brain - it's basically gray matter, where motor function is really only speculated in terms of lobes/lobal function and purpose.

    What the brain *can* do is relearn. And with a brain injury, many motor and cognitive skills are completely erased. Therapy is required to help the individual relearn these skills, and often they can only be "reassigned" to a certain percentage.

    This is why it's critical to protect your head. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than riding without an approved helmet.

    Do I always? Pretty much yes. But there are times when I haven't. So I'm not preaching to you, just hoping to shed some more light to this ongoing issue.

    There is some great published information at:

    www.cdc.gov
    www.nih.gove
    www.bia-usa.org

    Robby

    You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
    When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

    Comment


    • #3
      That is a very good point to make [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
      http://community.webshots.com/user/cotswoldjr
      http://temp.hillcresttrainingnet.off...m/default.aspx
      [url]
      Starman Babies

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks for the reminder!!

        for myself (who has had 3 concussions from riding, the first one being 21 years ago), i switched to wearing a gpa full-time after i hurt my back in a fall this winter. i had always worn an approved type hat for schooling at home (luckily i had on a caliente when i fell off 21 years ago, i hit so hard it cracked!!), but for the past few years i used a Patey for showing.

        as a tie-in to the other thread on the colored stripes on the gpa's... i love them because it makes the gpa's more fun. i think outside with no overhead lights it would be hard to notice them.
        so i will continue to wear mine in the hunters even with my new 'racing stripes'!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I shall now shamelessly exploit this rare opportunity to display what I have learned in my neuropsych course. Robby's right, the brain doesn't heal. In the peripheral nervous system (i.e. outside your brain and spinal cord), when you receive an injury that severs connections between your axons (the neuron fiber that carries messages to other neurons), cells called microglia and Schwann cells can create new axons and restore normal function. However, in the central nervous system, glial cells can't help damaged neurons regrow. Even if the distance that damaged fibers must bridge is short, function does not return. No one is sure why, but it's believed to have something to do with some glial cells forming scar tissue that seals off damaged areas and creates a barrier to axon regrowth or the production of an antigrowth agent called NOGO that is normally helpful in preventing the random regrowth of axons. So, with a good whack to the head, you lose established neuronal connections that must be bypassed (as Robby mentioned, that's the relearning process).

          Cheers,
          Susie
          http://www.kachoom.com

          "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!" ~Homer Simpson
          "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!" ~Homer Simpson

          Comment


          • #6
            I vote that this thread and Mr. Bumpkin's Helmet Theory go into a new forum called "Wearing Approved Helmets: Keeping Your Sorry Butt Alive!" [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

            ~<>~ Remember, the Ark was built by a rank amateur; the Titanic was built by a team of experts~<>~

            Comment


            • #7
              We had an incident this weekend with one of my daughter's friends. She was wearing her helmet and fell off a runaway, landing on her head. We did not see the fall but it upset my daughter so much we skipped her lesson and went to the hospital with a beanie baby horse from her collection. There she heard her friend yelling and angry etc all the signs of a concussion. It made a strong impression on her. Her friend will be okay with an overnight stay and rest for a few days. But it could have been so much worse.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                and in the ensuing months, watch the friend for sudden changes in behavior, or loss of memory, etc.

                EVERY concussion is considered a mild brain injury. There are almost always some minor effects of the injury.

                Robby

                You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
                When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I work for an area agency in NH and I am the Point person for our region to assist folks with Acquired Brain Disorder. Thanks for telling folks the truth!
                  May I add - any brain injury has some kind of internal result - think of your brain as jello in a bowl
                  and when the bowl is hit the jello slouches - that is
                  what impact injuries do - slouch your brain. Even so-called "mild" head injury result in some type of insult and injury to the brain. Stay safe and be smart - protect yourself.
                  Vermont - where winter riders are real riders.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ...for clarifying this. The brain and spinal cord do not regrow nerve connections. But with the brain, damaged areas can be circumvented to regain lost skills...sometimes to a great degree, and sometimes to a very small degree. The skills have to be reassigned to different areas...which can take a very long time.

                    A friend of mine from junior high recently had a severe brain injury. A car impacted the passenger side of the vehicle she was in; essentially, her head took a lot of the impact (she was in a low-profile vehicle...the other was an SUV). At first, they did not think she would survive. Then, they were not sure she would ever regain consciousness. After about 6 weeks she did. At that point, I went to visit her at Helen Hayes. She was having some physical therapy, which included tilting the bed to almost vertical for a little while. I walked up, took her hand, and said, "Hi, Abby." She looked at me, then gave me a huge smile and squeezed my hand. I started to cry!

                    Throughout my visit, it was clear she was definitely "in there," even though she hadn't talked yet. She would look around, smile at people, and get definite expressions on her face (including a clear look of disgust when her older sister made a little joke at her expense! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] ). Not too long after that, she started talking. Today, she is walking, driving, and back to life as a college student. She has changed majors and now wants to be a psychologist specializing in brain injuries. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] If you didn't know her before the accident, you'd never know anything was wrong with her, except for her slightly slurred speech.

                    That visit in the hospital had a profound effect on me. And ever since my own mild concussion this past January (thank GOD I was wearing an approved helmet at the time...had I not been, I may have been in the same boat as my friend was), I have been a die-hard approved-helmet wearer and promoter. I now have an ATH, and I won't get on a horse without it.

                    You've got to protect your brain...it's the only one you have. And it doesn't grow back.

                    ~Sara [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

                    "If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bull." -Bart Simpson

                    Member of the Dirt Divers 78th Airborne Unit, ATH Squadron

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I love the term "Acquired Brain Disorder". Of course it is usually proceeded by "I acquired a non apporved helmet that didn't protect squat."

                      "I'd be more tactful, if I were wrong."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The doctor calls it "recovering" because it's much easier to splain.

                        In my case ... I remember going back to the office two or three weeks after my Unplanned Dismount. This was after intensive care, etc. Spent about 20 minutes sitting in front of my computer, trying to get my finger to push the ON button. Knew that was what had to happen, but it didn't work.

                        Or if you asked me what color the sky was, in my head I would say blue but when I answered, I would say "yellow," because I could not make the correct answer come out.

                        I could not walk a straight line for years. To this day, when I am very tired or mentally on overload, I cannot walk a straight line. And many, many, many more things, but I don't want to belabor it.

                        And on top of that, which is something that Francesca and I discussed in email last week (MAD "introduced" us), each and every brain injury reacts totally differently from each and every brain injury, even if it was identical.

                        The ONLY thing which did "recover" had nothing to do with recovery, it had to do with movement. I fell on the back of my head, no helmet (that ONLY time, no joke), on hardpack. Broke my skull in seven places, fractured my jaw (still have awful TMJ), ripped all the cartilage up one side of my nose on the inside, and my right eardrum burst out. But before it did, the CSF and blood built up behind it, and that caused a big pocket. The pocked would fill with fluid and I had debilitating vertigo.

                        Last month, after nearly seven years, I got off ativan, which I was taking for the reverse effect - if you take ativan, it makes you dizzy, if you are already dizzy, it makes you normal. So I could finally get off it and when I told my dr, he said "Oh, good, then that part healed by going back to the normal way it was before your accident." I still have to take a strong diuretic every day and restrict salt intake, otherwise I do spin and spin, and becuase of this I have to take a potassium replacement as well. But least I am off of one.

                        My accident happened on November 24, 1995. The rest of that year and all of 1996 are just tiny snippets, since most of that time is completely gone from my life. No recollection.

                        My poor mother, she had just gone through my dad having a benign brain tumor removed when I took my header.

                        Richard Spooner's mother Ginny, the first day I went back to the stable (for a half hour, that was all I could manage), ripped me an new asshole the likes of nothing you could imagine. We still talk about it. I, of all people, always the poster child for approved helmets, without one. I, the poster child for not going out in ratty knickers, wearing the rattiest ones AND shredded pantihose under the breeches.

                        My doctor said if I had worn an unapproved, I would have had just as much shit happen. With an approved, it would have been one hell of a headache and minor concussion, but nothing at all like what I had.

                        And God bless my best friend, aka Pinkerdo on the BB, for every bit of support she gave me through that ordeal. I could kiss her ass every single day for the rest of my life and I could still never thank her enough for the help and support and friendship and such she gave me then.

                        Friends, I am not joking. I could barely even get up out of bed to shuffle to the john, and I could not move my arms enough to pull down my knickers to pee. I could not raise my arms higher than boob level or I would pass out. Lost my sense of smell and taste for about 1 1/2 years. My hearing on the right is still shot.

                        AND ALL BECAUSE I WAS TO VAIN TO PUT ON A HELMET. JUST ONE TIME. THAT'S ALL IT TAKES TO @#$% UP YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, OFTEN FOREVER.

                        Robby J, I still wanna marry you, especially when you post good stuff like this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you don't wear a helmet for yourself,
                          wear a helmet for the people who care about you.

                          Pais.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Coreene, that is an unbelievable story!!

                            i often shudder when i think what would have happened to me that day 20 years ago if i hadn't had the caliente on... i also shudder when i see top professionals schooling horses without any helmet on at all!!

                            it sounds like you had a great support group through your recovery. are you back riding?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for asking. Yes, I would have crawled back onto my horse right after it happened. Could not ride for six months afterwards. Then I began having issues, but now I have learned to work with them and enjoy riding just as much as always. I do it a bit less often, but that is because I do not put myself into a situation where I may feel uncomfortable, and with my horse it's riding in the arena in the dark but under lights. But that is getting better, too.

                              This winter we will begin riding around the stables at night again. Otherwise in the winter I usually just ride on the weekend, but Willem is schooled every other Friday as well.

                              Riding Pinkerdo's horse Barney is also a great help. since you could stick a dead baby on him and he'd give them a nice, quiet ride.

                              Mostly I just stopped beating myself up about those times when I didn't want to ride, and when I stopped doing it then I started riding a lot more.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I had no idea! You are a wonderful success story, but the painful parts you must still deal with are what people must hear.

                                The company for which I work has a marketing hook we use "brain injury is as different as each glance through a kaleidoscope ... that's why our only focus is neurorehabilitation." We use all sorts of neat oil-filled kaleidoscopes as conference giveaways, etc. This supports what you say - no two are alike. And it's still so "not understood." The brain is a very mystical organ, and if you think about it ... for good reason! (Why do we dream? Why does a smell remind us of something? Why do we have anxiety disorders and suffer from depression?)

                                What breaks my heart is when I visit a facility and see the shell of what used to be a cheerleader or the football captain, just struggling to relearn how to tie their shoes. I often leave choking back tears.

                                Or the rage of a former DEA agent from Miami, who almost died in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) in pursuit of a criminal, simply because the public relations department took a photograph that flashed too brightly near him. (Rage/loss of control is a common effect of brain injury, as is sexual inappropriateness.)

                                It's so scary, really, when you see it up close and personal. I weep for those individuals, and their families who are so happy to still have them here, regardless of their state.

                                Robby

                                You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
                                When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This thread is a must read for all.

                                  Robby - I think it was me that posted the misinformation about the brain "healing" that prompted this thread. I am almost glad that I did because this is a great discussion and you are wonderful for starting it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    i never knew i could learn so much about the brain....

                                    i've been riding for 5 years, and every single time i've gotten on a horse, i've always had my helmet on. i dunno, it's just kinda become routine and i honestly don't think about it...
                                    here;s a funny story, though... one time, i was in a horse trial, and i was going up to the ring. i had to remember to bring so much stuff, i completely forgot my helmet. i hadn't gone more than a couple feet when one of my buddies told me i didn't have a helmet on. oops!!! i laughed and quickly ran back into the barn to get my helmet on [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                                    "DELIVERY!!! did you order a boumb? a BOUMB?!?! AHHHHHH"- Revenge of the Pink Panther

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks for the nice words Coreen. That was a time I never want to see again. People wear your HELMETS!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Kiss my a$$ for the rest of your life [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

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