Physicians at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto conducted a survey of homeless men and discovered that almost half of them had suffered some kind of past traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A traumatic brain injury can have devastating, life-long effects. There can be an alteration in moods, resulting in either reduction in motivation or an increase in aggression. There can be damage to a person’s cognitive capacity, such as the inability to make decisions. Recognizing appropriate and inappropriate social behavior may also be affected.
The researchers for this study questioned 111 men between the ages of 27 and 81 from a local homeless shelter. The definition the study used for homelessness was “living at a shelter within the last seven days and not having a home of one’s own.” Although the men were randomly chosen, there were criteria they needed to meet in order to participate. They had to be able to speak English; they had to be able to give their consent to participate; they could not have any severe mental illness which would pose a safety risk for the researchers. The majority of participants had issues with chronic alcoholism.
In the survey, participants were given 19 scenarios where they could have received an injury to their head and asked if they had ever experienced any of these situations. If they had, then it was determined if they became confused or lost consciousness with each injury. Situations included:
- Vehicle accidents;
- Sports or recreation injuries;
- Struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian;
- Alcohol or drug blackouts;
- Struck by an object or against an object.
The second part of the survey was a screening for effects on cognitive, physical and emotional abilities and how often these symptoms occur. The third part asked questions about other conditions which may also affect those abilities.
In a statement, lead researcher Jane Topolovec-Vranic said, “You could see how it would happen. You have a concussion, and you can’t concentrate or focus. Their thinking abilities and personalities change. They can’t manage at work, and they may lose their job, and eventually lose their families. And then it’s a negative spiral.”
It is important to contact an attorney if you’ve been in an accident or otherwise received a traumatic brain injury. Your lawyer can help you get the help you need to ensure that your injury doesn’t derail your life, leaving you in a situation you can’t get out of. If you’re suffering effects from a head injury due to negligence, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.