Seven-time Formula One race car champion Michael Schumacher has been fighting for his life since sustaining serious brain injuries in a skiing accident during a family vacation in Meribel, Switzerland during the holidays. Like many victims of brain injuries, Schumacher appeared shaken but conscious after hitting his helmeted head on a rock during a fall Dec. 29, according to the BBC.
Traumatic brain injuries usually are caused by a violent jolt to the head. Most brain injuries are minor concussions. Some people are able to make a complete recovery from minor brain injuries. But other brain injuries can have a long-term impact, though not every such injury.
More serious or severe traumatic brain injuries can be sustained in a number of ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents account for the highest number of fatalities related to traumatic brain injury every year.
In the case of more severe brain injuries, the long-term consequences are life-changing for survivors. Dr. Richard Greenwood, a brain specialist the University College London Hospital , said Shumacher would be a completely different person if he survived the brain injury and would have to adapt to his limitations, according to the British newspaper The Independent.
These limitation may include impaired motor function and weakness in the extremities that can hamper the person’s ability to perform even routine daily activities. Coordination may be affected, which also makes accomplishing daily tasks a major challenge. Psychological effects can include anxiety, impulse control problems and personality changes.
The consequences also may include memory loss, concentration and attention difficulties, cognitive problems, depression and psychological problems that surface long after the injury has seemingly healed.
The CDC estimates that as many as 5.3 million Americans currently live with a disability caused by a traumatic brain injury. Your ability to live a productive life, go to work and earn a living are affected when you suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Long-term emotional consequences can affect your relationship with your loved ones. Research has linked the psychological changes that accompany a traumatic brain injury to a higher risk of divorce after an injury.
Families facing this kind of injury and ordeal need the guidance of a experience attorney who can advocate for them to receive the resources and support they need.