TBI – What is it?


My husband,  Ed – (who authored under the name of Jed Waverly)  was a writer prior to his death 9 months ago.  He authored a blog entitled “The Penultimate Word” and published 2,000 posts over a 6-7 year period of time. I went to his blog site and was reading through some of his writings tonight.  I found a blog entitled “CONCUSSION: injury to the brain or spinal chord due to jarring from a blow, fall, or the like.”

As you all know I am an Alzheimer’s and dementia practitioner and have been working in this specific health care field for 20+ years now.  Talking about concussions as a result of falls, sports injuries and blows to the head have been part of the conversations that Jed and I have shared during much of this time.

It’s ironic, that in this particular blog post, Jed stated: “I am fortunate not to have suffered from a series of head traumas which are common in other people’s experience…especially those friends who have participated in contact sports.” I say it is ironic, as Jed died from a traumatic brain injury as a result of a major aneurysm and a fall that fractured his skull. He died 36 hours later.

So, what is a traumatic brain injury or TBI?  It is exactly what it’s title says.  It is severe trauma to the brain that can cause dementia, potential neurological disorders or death.  What most people don’t understand is that the brain is similar to the consistency of Jell-o.  It is not like muscles or ligaments or tendons. If you were to put Jell-o into a jar and shake it, you know what would happen to it. That’s one reason why shaken baby syndrome is so damaging to very young children. It’s also the reason when  elderly or dementia patients fall and hit their heads, they are sent out to the hospital for a scan.

The brain is a very, very delicate organ, essential for life and necessary for all organs and bodily functions. It needs to be treated with great respect.  I am a former physical education teacher, so I have great appreciation for sports.  However, I cringe when I watch the Patriots being tackled… I cringe when I see a child heading a soccer ball or a RedSox player hit in the head with a baseball… whether it’s lacrosse, boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling, basketball, ice hockey, etc., etc., etc.  –  hits to the head or sports where players are hitting their heads as a result of falls… these are all dangerous and can impact people for the rest of their lives.

When someone breaks an arm or leg as a result of a hit or fall, we can see the results of those injuries. Unfortunately, when the brain is injured, we can not see the brain bleeds and the damage that has been done to the brain.  Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious medical condition that people need to take more seriously.

Quote: The Penultimate Word: “CONCUSSION: injury to the brain or spinal chord due to jarring from a blow, fall, or the like.”, Jed Waverly  1.7.16

Photo Credit: www.wisegeek.com

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  1. DCPutnam says:

    Good morning Doreen:

    Please post this to your blog:

    “My 88 year old father Edward died from Alzheimer’s disease in December of 2016. He was a boxer during his teenage years. I wonder if the head injuries sustained from boxing contributed to his memory loss.”

    David Creamer 8.8.17

  2. DCPutnam says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your note.

    We know that this is certainly a possibility regarding your father’s condition and was probably a contributing factor. However, as you know, there are many risk factors that put people in a vulnerable position for this disease.

    Below is a portion of a 2012 article from Alzforum:

    “Growing evidence links sports-related head injuries, mostly concussions, to neurological problems and neurodegeneration later on in life… The medical field now recognizes chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a major problem among football players, boxers, and other participants in contact sports.” —Tom Fagan

    Sports head injuries put people at risk not only for CTE, but Alzheimer’s, MCI – Mild Cognitive Impairment, TBI – Traumatic Brain Injuries and Parkinson’s.

    Thanks for reading my blog “The Alzheimerist” and for commenting.

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