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Brain injuries include lifelong dedication to recovery

Some of our Michigan readers may be following the struggle of Today Show contributor Bill Briggs. His 20-year-old daughter suffered catastrophic injuries including multiple bone fractures, a collapsed lung and severe brain trauma in a car accident last year. She was in the passenger side of the vehicle when the driver made a left turn when an oncoming SUV slammed into her side of the car. The girl was unconscious, unresponsive and would remain that way for several months.

Doctors said it was the more serious brain injury one could sustain and still survive. She has had to learn how to swallow, eat, feed herself, communicate, write, speak, and remember words all over again. He dad says it's like raising his child for a second time.

Caring for his daughter in 48-hour-shifts, switching with his ex-wife every two days is physically and emotionally overwhelming, he says. It's life changing. The family has had to purchase special medical equipment to help conduct day-to-day care for her, including a handicap van to transport her.

Every person's brain is unique. And each brain injury is unique, that's why doctors cannot give an exact prognosis for each patient. It takes up to two years before doctors can determine how the patient will behave physically and mentally long-term. Then it is a lifetime of reeducating the nervous system.

Briggs' daughter may never live independently again. She may need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. That's why it is so important when dealing with brain injuries that victims fight for their legal and financial rights to help deal with the aftermath of tragedy for the rest of their lives.

Source: today.com, "Bringing Andrea back from brain injury: a father's story," Bill Bringss, June 14, 2012

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