A recent focus in the media between two high profile women has brought attention to the silent epidemic of brain injury. A brain injury changes, alters or takes a life every 19 seconds. The only true cure is prevention. Awareness of protecting the head is crucial, especially in children. Protect your head in everything you do. We are all one accident away from a brain injury. Acres of Hope and Aspirations takes many Creatures of Rehab to many community events to bring awarenss of brain injury such as schools, boys and girl scouts, 4-H, churches, Jammin' on Janesville, etc. and has had many such groups out to the rehab farm.
Secretary of State, Hilliary Rodham Clinton recently returned to work after being hospitalized for suffering from a blood clot in her head following a concussion. On December 7, she became dehydrated due to a stomach virus, and fell and hit her head, suffering a concussion. She developed a blood clot that did resolve with treatment and time. Jan. 8, 2013 now marks the two-year anniversary of the tragic shooting of 19 people at a public shopping center in Tucson, Arizona when U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords suffered a gunshot to the head causing a traumatic brain injury. Continuing to focus on her own rehabilitation and recovery from the residual effects of the gunshot wound to the brain, Giffords did not return to work and resigned from Congress in 2012.
Clinton was presented by her co-workers with a football helmet after returning to work this week as Secretary of State indicating "Washington was a contact sport". However, the importance of head protection in preventing brain injuries could easily get lost in this statement. Helmets and protective head gear are crucial for brain injury prevention with any contact sport.
Giffords had a prior high-profile public service career and has remained in the public eye after being shot in the head. She and her husband former U.S. Navy Captain and astronaut and space shuttle commander Mark Kelly continue to remain public about her brain injury, her recovery and her struggles to overcome this tragic situation. Kelly was the keynote speaker this year in October 2012 at the ARN (Association of Rehabilitation Nurses) national conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Acres of Hope and Aspirations attended the ARN national conference and were fortunate enough to hear Kelly speak. Giffords could not attend due to her rehabilitation sessions. A personal invite to visit Acres of Hope and Aspirations located in Muskego has been extended to them.
The extent of brain injury trauma and recovery can vary. Clinton has returned to full functioning and appears to have little to no residual of the effects of head injury. Giffords still struggles through the residual cognitive, physicial and emotional effects of her traumatic brain injury. Acres of Hope and Aspirations sees many people/families affected by brain injury and no one is affected the same and no recovery is the same. Just like every person is different in life, every recovery is different pending on what areas of the brain are damaged, the extent and severity of damage, the extent and level of rehabilitation services, the person's health/medical status both prior and following the brain injury, etc. No one could guarantee that an injured brain eventually would be restored to former level of functioning.
A resident of Acres of Hope and Aspirations, former National Guardsman Winlom Woods, suffered a similar brain injury when he was shot in the head by a sniper in the Iraq War in 2006. No one thought he would ever walk or speak again. The bullet is still in his brain and it is too dangerous to remove it. Since being shot, he has lived through 11 surgeries, 2 blood clots, cadaver bone in his skull, vena caver filter in his body and platinum weight in his right eyelid. He faces a tough, unpredictable road to recovery. Woods has worked hard in his daily struggles with his brain injury. With medical supervision and care of his rehabilitation nurse, he recently worked on balance and endurance with Twinkle Toes, one of the Creatures of Rehab in the Gardens of Hope at the rehab farm. His hemiparesis from his brain injury makes him a huge fall risk. The pot bellied pig walked on a harness daily with him and helped him overcome the use of a cane except with slippery and winter conditions. Woods is "Proud as Peacocks" for his daily accomplishments and achievements at the rehab farm and is happy to wake up each day alive, despite a bullet in his brain. A video taken when Acres of Hope and Aspirations appeared on TMJ4's The Morning Blend shows Creatures of Rehab from Acres of Hope and Aspirations and Winlom walking with Twinkle Toes. http://youtu.be/NjGlQ2nnwgo
Acres of Hope and Aspirations can not guarantee a full recovery. The biggest thing we can guarantee is to offer is hope and healing through the support and compassion of rehabilitation nursing. For many families affected by brain injury, grieving and healing has become on-going and consequential parts of their lives. Every one needs to take part in educating one another about prevention of brain injury and make the world a safer place for all.
Acres of Hope and Aspirations Inc. is a 501c 3 non-profit charitable organization. Monetary donations are always needed and are tax deductible. Please visit our website for our "wish list" donations at: www.acresofhopeandaspirations.org or visit us on facebook at Acres of hope and aspirations or call us at 414-422-4882.