Study finds over 1.5 million Americans suffer from traumatic brain injuries

TBIs can cause issues with memory, mobility, mental health, more

Over 1.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury each year.

A new study has found that for many patients, the effects of that such an injury can last long after their treatment ends. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can lead to memory, mobility, mental health and cognitive function struggles.

There is no definitive healing time for a brain injury. New evidence suggests these are chronic conditions for many people that need to be treated over time.

Bethany Maish was in a serious car crash 25 years ago, followed by a horse riding accident a year later. She’s still managing the lasting effects of those TBIs.

“I’m constantly working every day cognitively,” Maish said. “I work constantly to keep everything very routine and organized.”

The approach helps Maish maintain her progress and prevent changes to her condition. Until recently, experts believed TBIs stabilized within a couple of years, but over a quarter century of data from an ongoing study at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center revealed most patients experience continuing changes in their condition throughout their lives.

“Some people will have some long-term problems with their thinking, with how they solve problems, with how they regulate their behavior,” said Jennifer Bogner with the Wexner Medical Center.

Based on the study, researchers implemented screening protocols for TBIs at places like hospitals, shelters, treatment centers and prisons.

“You need to know if the people you’re working with have a history of traumatic brain injury,” said John Corrigan with the Wexner Medical Center. “And if they do, you need to understand how to make simple accommodations in how you deliver treatment so that they get the most out of it.”

Maish said she thought if she worked hard enough, she could simply go back to normal following her injuries. She says that mindset makes matters worse. Ongoing support and awareness have been far more helpful to her.

Both patients and their doctors will need to consider if current issues are attributed to a prior TBI or not. It’s encouraged that they both treat this as a chronic condition that needs constant support.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.