Serious brain injury: life will never be the same

One year after a brutal beating in the Dodger Stadium parking lot left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a coma, the former paramedic who suffered severe brain injuries now uses a wheelchair. He can respond to questions with a few simple, halting words and  has short-term memory loss. He needs nearly around-the-clock care.

Dr. Mayumi Prins, an associate professor in residence at the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center studies how metabolism is affected after a brain injury. She said glucose sometimes has a tough time getting to the brain. She compared a normal brain to a Los Angeles freeway. “There are divergent pathways but one main pathway that allows glucose to go through,” she said. “With a traumatic brain injury, there are detours and SIG-alerts.”

Tyler Sutton, 38, crashed his motorcycle in December 1992, then fell into a coma. “I used to be No. 1 on the Oxnard High School golf team. I had three or four girlfriends,” the Camarillo man said. “Now I can’t tie a tie. I have to have Velcro on my shoes.” Formerly right-handed, he’s now left-handed. He has to keep his right foot from dragging. “Sometimes, people don’t understand.”

TBI affects all ages, all ethnic communities, and all professions, but is particularly prevalent in young children and older people where it is now the leading cause of death and disability. Among older people, falls are the primary cause of TBI, and among younger people, car crashes and sports injuries are significant contributors.

People are becoming more aware of brain trauma, but it’s important to continually educate yourself.

“Since anyone can sustain a brain injury at any time, it is important for everyone to have access to comprehensive rehabilitation and ongoing disease management,” Dr. Brent Masel, National Medical Director of the Brain Injury Association of America said. If patients with TBI get proper medical care, they are less likely to experience medical problems, permanent disability, job loss, homelessness, suicide and even involvement with the criminal or juvenile justice system. ”

Bill Daniels is a trial lawyer and shareholder with the law firm of DANIELS LAW in Sherman Oaks, CA.  A graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, he is a former member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Board of Governors, a founding member of Loyola’s Civil Justice Program and a past president of the Encino Lawyers Association.  Since 2007, he has been named a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine.  Mr. Daniels focuses his practice on serious personal injury, insurance and employment. For information, visit our website at www.daniels.legal or contact us through e-mail: Info@danielslaw.com.

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