Did you know that March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month?
Why is this important?
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, each year an estimated 1.7 million children and adults in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) from nontraumatic causes. TBIs can affect the functionality of the brain—affecting thinking, reasoning, and memory. Whether the victim is an adult, a child, or an infant, TBIs can have a major impact on individuals and their families (NCTSN, 2014).
The problem with brain injuries is that you can’t see them. No one walks around with a cast on their head and a sign that says, “Handle with care – stroke, car accident, sports injury, shaken baby syndrome…”
You may or may not be aware that I have a brain injury. Years ago I was in a car accident. The result of that car accident was a head injury that damaged 15% of my brain tissue and added the words seizure disorder to my medical records. But, hey don’t worry about the 15%, most people only use 7% of their brains so I have a lot left to work with.
Every brain injury is different. I have been fortunate that mine is limited to memory. I have an exuberant ability to learn but not to remember. This explains why after successfully completely my bachelors degree with a 3.98 GPA (15 years after my accident) I still tested at the 7th grade educational level as far as memory function goes during a 5 year neurological check-up. This also explains why I probably won’t remember your name if we meet (but it doesn’t mean I won’t remember your story), I am the worse partner to have on your team when it comes to board games, and right now I have no idea what I have planned today without looking at a calendar.
I am not stupid. Somedays I just can’t remember that I am actually smart.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned from having a brain injury:
1. Don’t judge others. There is a 99% chance you really have no idea what is going on in their lives. Love and acceptance is a much better path to follow.
2. God has a purpose for every human being. Each person you meet has worth and value beyond measure. It is important to recognize it, acknowledge it and champion it to shine from within them.
3. Not all of us have physical disabilities but all of us are called to be over-comers of the obstacles and road blocks in our lives.
4. With God’s help nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).
I want to leave you with these words of encouragement from 2 Corinthians 12:9 and invite you to tell your story. It is important that people understand who you are.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
For more information about brain injuries visit: BrainFacts.org