Working with a Traumatic Brain Injury with Kevin Thompson

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a head injury that causes damage to the brain. It may cause long-term complications, challenges or even death. There are several ways a person suffers a TBI, some of these include: concussion, a blow to the head from a fall, car accident or act of violence.  Complications can include fluid build-up, seizures, altered consciousness, infections, cognition , and communication challenges. A few of Connections’ own staff members have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury and work with many challenges they create on a daily basis.

One staff member, Kevin, has been fortunate to survive several TBI’s throughout his life. His TBIs have affected his quality of life with symptoms that range from memory loss, balance issues, hand-eye coordination, hearing issues and fatigue. One TBI caused him to have to relearn many skills. Since then he has achieved many goals including obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree, home ownership, professional awards and recognitions, new jobs and promotions, and facilitating a Brain Injury Support Group. 

Bright lights and loud noises can aggravate the symptoms of his brain injuries. It can be difficult for him to concentrate on a conversation when others are happening at the same time. When asked how he handles the fatigue of a TBI while working full-time in a leadership position, Kevin stated, “When I’m having difficulty focusing, I take time to step away from the task and rest. Sometimes I am able to push through the fatigue and continue working if I have a deadline to meet. However, I know when I do this I may not be doing my best work and I need additional recovery time.” 

There are many coping mechanisms Kevin has learned to help with daily tasks. He relies on his planner for writing down notes from phone calls and meetings, taking frequent short breaks,  and memorizing phone numbers and addresses to keep his brain working, and exercising. Kevin demonstrates just one example of success for those who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury. If you or someone you know lives with a TBI, we encourage you to check out our support group that meets every second Monday of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Connections for Independent Living.