The effects of brain injury are wide-ranging but can include physical changes, cognitive changes, emotional and behavioral changes. Whether you sustain a mild brain injury or severe injury, these effects can have an impact on you, and those who love you.
Derryk Tolen sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in April of 2021, secondary to a motor vehicle accident.
Continue reading to see how his traumatic brain injury has impacted him and his father, as well a message they would like to share.
Question: How has your life been impacted by your brain injury?
Answer: Greg (father): “It was impacted 100%. He almost died. We thought we were going to lose him all together. He’s basically started over.”
Derryk (survivor): “To me, from the day of my accident, until the day I got here, it’s basically been a restart to my life. My life was going in a million different ways before, and now I’m here, and I know what I am here for. I wake up every morning and I know what I am doing.”
Question: What do you wish for the general public to know about traumatic brain injuries?
Answer: Greg (father): “Wear your seatbelts!”
Derryk (survivor): “There’s a million different things that can go on. Just because someone says you have a brain injury doesn’t mean you have one specific thing that is wrong with you. There are a million things that could be affecting you. So just take the time to figure out which part is affecting you, and how you can help yourself.” “It’s not like you broke your leg and you are waiting for your leg to get better.”
Greg (father): “It’s a long, long process, but you heal every single day.” “I truly believe that he’ll continue to heal for years to come.”
Conclusion: Here we see how one survivor and his family have been impacted by traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury Awareness Month is intended to advocate for those who have survived a brain injury, and to build awareness. Many people with disabilities following a brain injury have their lives defined for them. Join the #MoreThanMyBrainInjury campaign for Brain Injury Awareness Month, to share your story of how you or a loved one have overcome these definitions, and how you have changed your own narrative.
Becky Jessen, OTD, OTR/L, CBIS, LSVT-BIG