Comedian Tracy Morgan is back in the news, celebrating his newly regained mobility by walking himself down the aisle in his own wedding. After surviving a deadly 2014 car accident, Morgan endured months of rehabilitation for broken ribs, a broken leg, broken nose, and traumatic brain injury. Fellow comic Jimmy McNair wasn’t so lucky; he was killed in the crash, while several other passengers suffered life-changing injuries.
The statistics are arresting: 280,000 Americans receive a traumatic brain injury from a car accident each year. Behind accidental falls, car accidents are the leading cause of brain damage. Morgan, McNair, and their fellow passengers are just one high-profile example of a situation that can strike individuals and families at a moment’s notice.
Morgan’s injuries were grave, and like many traumatic brain injuries, unpredictable. After the accident, Morgan’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, told the Associated Press: “When you have a traumatic brain injury, it takes a very long time to find out how you’re going to do and how much you’re going to recover. You just don’t know. He’s still fighting and trying to live his life at the same time and trying to get better, and he’s just not better. We’re hoping and praying to get him back to where he was. But the jury’s out.”
This pattern is typical of TBI: recovery from traumatic brain injuries is better measured in terms of years rather than months. A patient might experience moments or entire periods of confusion, frustration, and aggression, with families often expressing shock at just how different their loved one is from their “old” self. Advances in rehabilitation often follow a one step forward, two steps back type of process, with patients suffering what seems like a setback and suddenly struggling with a skill they’ve been working on.
If you or a loved one has been in an Central Florida car accident, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury might not be apparent immediately following the accident. While it might seem excessive to go to the hospital after a crash, err on the side of caution and visit the emergency room, even if you feel OK. More serious brain injuries are easily diagnosed, but mild brain injuries have a subtle presentation that need to be confirmed by a neuropsychological assessment testing the “white matter” that can’t readily be seen on a scan.
Have questions about a car accident involving a traumatic brain injury? We’d be honored to help you get your life back on track. Call Orlando personal injury attorney Jeff Badgley at (407) 781-0420 for a free, no-obligation consultation.