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Brain Injury: A Lifelong Journey

Brain Injury: A Lifelong Journey

In March, the Brain Injury Association of America released Brain Injury: A Lifelong Journey

It is a call for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to designate brain injury as a chronic condition, and for brain injury to be recognized, treated, and covered as such.

The position paper includes information on other “chronic health conditions,” explains the impact designating brain injury as a chronic condition might have on research, treatment options and access to care, areas in which more funding and research is needed, and survivor and caregiver perspectives. 

You can read it at

In the paper, a mom/survivor shared that she and her daughter, who was also injured in a car crash, continue to live with several chronic effects of their TBI’s. Mom struggles with sleep disorders, difficulty multitasking, and fatigue. Because her daughter’s injuries are “invisible,” and she looks like an average 25-year-old woman and wants to be one, people think she’s much more capable than she is; when she doesn’t succeed, they don’t understand what the problem is. One of the things that must be so hard for the young woman is to frequently mis-assess your abilities or have others do that, and struggle time and time again. What must that do to developing a sense of competence and self-worth?

Brain injury is complicated.  If you are in the midst of a brain injury case and need help finding specialists, understanding the latest research, or explaining the complexities of the case, the experienced personal injury lawyers with Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci are able to provide co-counsel every step of the way; call us.

Effects of a Concussion on Brain Cells

The things we’ve learned in the last 30 years about what happens in the brain in the moments after concussions are fascinating. They’ve also clarified how the damage a concussion inflicts can have long-term effects that may lead to chronic issues. 

1. Neurons are responsible for transmitting electrical signals throughout the brain and body. During a concussion, the sudden movement of the brain can cause stretching and shearing forces, leading to structural damage.

2. Axons are projections of neurons that enable communication between brain regions. A concussion can cause axons to stretch or break, which disrupts communication pathways and cognitive and neurological function.

3. After a concussion, the brain may experience inflammation as a natural defense mechanism. While it can help repair damaged tissue, excessive or prolonged inflammation may harm brain cells.

4. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals between neurons. An imbalance in these chemicals, which often happens after brain injury, can affect communication between brain cells and contribute to cognitive and emotional changes.

5. Brain cells require substantial energy to function correctly. Concussions can disrupt the brain’s energy metabolism, leading to a temporary energy crisis, which may impair brain cell functions and recovery processes.

6. In severe cases or repeated concussions, brain cells can die, which can have consequences for brain function and contribute to chronic neurological conditions.

7. Glial cells play a critical role in supporting and protecting neurons. They can become activated in response to injury to repair damage and support brain cell recovery.

The brain has a remarkable ability to recover from mild TBI or concussion. Most people experience a complete recovery within a few weeks to months; however, repeated concussions can have more significant and long-lasting effects on brain cells.  [1]

The original post from where this information was taken has a really great graphic showing what happens to the brain in a concussion; you can view it here

If you’ve experienced a concussion because of another’s negligence, and you aren’t getting better, it’s important to understand your treatment options, your legal rights, and what the future may hold. The experienced team at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci can help you understand your compensation rights; call us.

Brain Injury: Disease Causative and Disease Accelerative

TBI is now widely accepted as a risk factor for several chronic health conditions. Evidence has accumulated from years of data that shows persons with TBI have an elevated risk for chronic sleep disorders, cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysregulation, and neuroendocrine dysfunction, and that these conditions continue to evolve for years after their onset.[2]

TBI is known to be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.[3]

Among those still alive 5 years after injury, 29% of brain injury survivors misuse alcohol or other drugs.[4] Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the general population is ~4%, which means someone with a moderate brain injury has a 644% increased chance of SUD.[5]

When seeking or referring someone with a brain injury for medical treatment, it’s important to find physicians and other healthcare providers who are knowledgeable regarding the associated risks of brain injury and who are up to date on the current thinking. The most likely physicians to be paying attention to the latest research are Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctors; they specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the musculoskeletal system to help restore movement and function to people limited by disease or injury.  

If a loved one has sustained a serious brain injury, it’s important your legal team understands the long-term risks of the injury and how to maximize recovery; the experienced personal injury lawyers with Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci can help you obtain justice. Call us.

Is There Such A Thing As Chronic Pediatric Brain Injury?

Pediatric ABI (pABI) often alters the development of a child’s nervous system maturation, which can affect their whole life. Many children experience long-term cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional problems, and challenges may become increasingly visible over time as societal demands and expectations increase[6].

Despite potentially severe long-term consequences, children with ABI do not currently receive systematic, comprehensive rehabilitation after more than a year, resulting in unmet healthcare needs and placing them at risk for poor school outcomes and decreased quality of life[7]. 

Children and adolescents with brain injury, particularly mild TBI’s, are frequently under-identified for educational services. Children receiving therapy in the schools may be referred to services to improve learning, academic performance, and participation, but that requires being designated as eligible for, and limited by, special education services. To make matters worse, brain injuries in children tend to be “forgotten” over time in the educational system[8], even though many of these children and adolescents have persistent impairments and need appropriate long-term follow-up.

Read more here

A brain injury can be life-shattering, and it is critical that the life-long implications of the injury are understood and can be conveyed to a jury by your legal team. If someone you love has sustained a brain injury, our experienced lawyers can help; call us.  

Chronic Brain Injury at Trial

Unlike an injury event like a broken bone, which has a known recovery time and recovery markers, many people experience lifelong effects from a TBI that can change and worsen over time. Research into whether, and for whom, TBI becomes a chronic disease process has led to a better understanding of scope of this issue.

Research is pouring out now from across the world on studies that demonstrate the increased risk for long-term health problems from TBI. We now know TBI increases the risk factor for cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuromotor diseases, autonomic dysregulation, and mental health disorders, to name but a few. We’ve learned persons with TBI are 50 times more likely to die from seizure, 11 times more likely to die from accidental drug poisoning, 9 times more likely to die from infection, and 6 times more likely to die from pneumonia.

The question is whether this risk of future consequences is compensable. The statute of limitations may expire before some of the late effects of a TBI become apparent. No expert can testify that a plaintiff will suffer a particular disease, but they can testify future conditions are more probable than not.  Courts have permitted plaintiffs to recover for the emotional suffering and losses due to a reasonable fear of contracting a possible disease later down the road.

At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we conduct a thorough review of our clients’ past and current medical issues, with the help of our Director of Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Services. Our lawyers possess a thorough understanding of brain injury and the skill and passion to ensure our clients are fully compensated. Call us.


[2] Dams-O’Connor, K., Juengst, S., Bogner, J., Chiaravalloti, N., Corrigan, J., Giacino, J., Harrison-Felix, C., Hoffman, J., Ketchum, J. Lequerica, A., Marwitz, J.,  Miller, C., Nakase-Richardson, R., Rabinowitz, A., Sander, A., Zafonte, R., Hammond, F. Traumatic brain injury as a chronic disease: insights from the United States Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Research Program. The Lancet Neurology, June 2023. Vol 22:6; pp 517 -528

[3] Cruz-Haces M, Tang J, Acosta G, Fernandez J, Shi R. Pathological correlations between traumatic brain injury and chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Transl Neurodegener, July 2017. Vol 11:6. Online

[4] Potential Effects of a Moderate or Severe TBI CDC Injury Center.

[5] Jahan AR, Burgess DM. Substance Use Disorder. 2023 Jul 21. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan–. PMID: 34033404.

[6] Babikian T, Merkley T, Savage RC, Giza CC, Levin H. Chronic aspects of pediatric traumatic brain injury: review of the literature. J Neurotrauma. 2015;32(23):1849–60.

[7] Fuentes MM, Wang J, Haarbauer-Krupa J, Yeates KO, Durbin D, Zonfrillo MR, et al. Unmet Rehabilitation Needs After Hospitalization for Traumatic Brain Injury. Pediatrics. 2018;141(5):e20172859.

[8] Haarbauer-Krupa, J, Glang, A, Kurowski, B, Breiding, MJ. Report to Congress: the management of traumatic brain injury in children. Atlanta: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (U.S.), Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); 2018 [cited on 1 August 2021]. Available from:

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