FORMER SAN FRANCISCO 49’er DEFENSIVE LINEMAN The road to the NFL is paved with countless concussions. George Visger was destined to play football. By the time Visger joined his first Pee Wee Pop Warner team, the 1970 West Stockton Bear Cubs, he’d already made up his mind to become the best player the NFL had ever seen. It was no idle dream. Three of the pre-teen players on the Bear Cubs, including Visger, later earned full college football scholarships and went on to play in the NFL. Back then, concussions were not as broadly defined as they are today. By definition, any blow to the head that causes a transitive change in the mental faculties is considered a concussion. Upon impact, the brain crunches against the inside of skull, and bad things happen: headache, nausea, flashing lights, slurred speech, loss of consciousness. Today, if you’ve been hit in the head hard enough to see stars, it’s a concussion. Back then, you had to get knocked out. “If you weren’t seeing stars on every down, you weren’t playing hard enough,” Visger says. He had no way of knowing it then, but the very first concussion he incurred during that Bull in the Ring drill—“a meaningless exercise that taught you nothing,” he calls it today—increased the likelihood he would have more concussions in the future. And he did. As a member of Stockton’s all-conquering Stagg High School varsity football team— ranked No. 3 in the state in 1975, with an 11-0 record—he now figures he suffered perhaps a dozen “minor” concussions, minor meaning he wasn’t knocked out. Minor though they may have been, each concussion damaged his brain to some extent. As researchers who’ve dissected the brains of deceased NFL players are discovering, the damage adds up. On his very first play in a regular season game, Visger was “ear-holed,” struck viciously in the side of the head by a Dallas player’s helmet. He played the entire game, but doesn’t remember any of it. Trainers on the sidelines later told him they broke 25 to 30 smelling-salt capsules under his nose to keep him in the game. He played the rest of the season, and played well, but that hit was the beginning of the end of Visger’s NFL career. Throughout his time in football, he’d played through a broken neck vertebrae, a broken sacral vertebrae and a mangled knee. But by the time the 1981 season started, the multiple concussions endured over the years had exacted their toll. Continued on page 2
Inside this issue… BIACAL Newsletter - 2 BIACAL Membership - 15 TBI Hearing - 3 Walk for Thought RECAP - 4-5 Brain Injury Awareness Month Recognized- 10
FORMER SAN FRANCISCO 49’er DEFENSIVE LINEMAN - (continued from cover page) The 49ers’ team physician didn’t know what was wrong with him. At first. Visger’s complaints of dizziness, projectile vomiting and severe headaches were diagnosed as high blood pressure. One night in September, after weeks of headaches, vomiting and insomnia, Visger was trying to sleep when his right arm spasmodically locked up, as if he was doing a bicep curl. He pulled the arm back in place—it took some doing—but it sprang right back up. The next morning, he went to the team physician again. The doctor looked into his eyes and realized something was drastically wrong. “My god, your brain is hemorrhaging!” he said. After discovering his brain was hemorrhaging, he immediately drove himself to Stanford University Medical Center, much to the horror of the neurosurgery unit, which installed his first brain shunt hours later. Visger spent the next 14 days in intensive care, and even though he couldn’t play ball, the 49ers kept him on the roster. They told him he could play with the brain shunt after he recovered, he just needed to wear a special helmet. He didn’t play a down in San Francisco’s 1981-1982 championship season, but he still earned a Super Bowl ring. That’s why they call it a team sport. With an enormous, clear stone set in silver, it is considerably larger than his Orange Bowl ring. The 49ers never officially cut him the following spring, he was just sort of eased out the door. That’s how the game is played when you’re a yeoman in the NFL. He wasn’t much use to the 49ers with a torn-up knee and a brain shunt. There was no special helmet. The coaches try out new players on the team’s off days, and the next thing you know, you’re packing up your locker. After two years in the league, Visger’s NFL dream was over. He may have failed that challenge, but the worst was yet to come. In May 1982, Visger nearly died when his shunt clogged while on a fishing trip in Mexico with his brother Mel. Mel flew his nearly comatose brother back to Sacramento; emergency brain surgery was performed to replace the clogged shunt. The procedure wasn’t successful, and Visger was read his last rites. It was beginning to look like his macabre hunting buddies who’d put dibs on his skull and his pelt would be collecting on their markers, but he hung on, and a second surgery 10 hours later saved his life. The next two years are a blank. Visger doesn’t remember any of it. In 1984, he was working with his brother Bob, a building contractor, on the roof of a house in Sacramento’s Fabulous 40s. At some point during the workday, Bob turned to George and said, “This is the first time I feel like I’ve talked to you in more than a year.” Bob explained that George had been acting erratically since at least his second and third brain surgeries. He disappeared for days at a time. He yelled and screamed at his mother and sisters for no reason. It was all breaking news to the dumbfounded Visger. He immediately went to his mother and his sisters to apologize and explain that he didn’t remember most of the past two years, but that he was OK now. “I’m back,” he told his mother. His family forgave him for the most part. The doctors that performed the first brain surgery had told them that sort of behavior was to be expected. After his ninth brain surgery in 1993, Visger came into his own outside the arena of football. His degree in wildlife biology provided him the opportunity to spend more time in his favorite place, the great outdoors. He’d spend 10 days at a time in the field, conducting wilderness surveys on practically every threatened or endangered species in California: the spotted owl, the desert tortoise, the gnat catcher. When he wasn’t working, he was guiding elk hunts in New Mexico and buffalo hunts in Argentina. (He’s forgotten entire expeditions.) He participates in charity walks to raise funds for hydrocephalus patients, most of whom are children. He also conducts “Coaches Concussion Clinics” for the Sports Legacy Institute, the organization that’s been at the forefront of the efforts to force the NFL to acknowledge CTE. There’s a certain level of denial in Visger’s attitude toward his own medical condition. In the late 1980s, his shunt went out four times, requiring four additional surgeries to repair it. At the time, he was attempting to finish a degree in wildlife biology at Sacramento State, and rather than miss an important test, he showed up in class the day after surgery with his hair shaved and surgical staples holding the sutures together. He had a severe seizure mid-test. That denial extends to big-game hunting. Who in their right mind treks into the wilderness knowing they might not get out alive if their brain shunt fails? Call it courage. Call it foolishness—there’s a fine line between the two. Visger’s short-term memory may be gone, but the same drive that allowed him to shrug off countless concussions during his football career remains with him today.
When asked to account for his seemingly risky behavior, Visger simply replies that after his first brain surgery ended his short -lived career with the San Francisco 49ers in 1981, he made up what was left of his mind “to start living for today.”
Dr. forfor BIAA at TBI Hearing Dr. Ashley AshleyTestifies Testifies BIAA at TBI Hearing Dr. Mark Ashley, Founder and President/CEO of Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS), BIACAL’s Board Chairman, and Chairman Emeritus of BIAA, testified on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) at a hearing for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, focusing on “A Review of Efforts to Prevent and Treat Traumatic Brain Injury.” This hearing took place at 3 p.m. Monday, March 19, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Other witnesses included representatives from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the National Association of State Head Injury Administration (NASHIA), and Dr. Flaura Winston; a pediatrician practicing in Pennsylvania. Dr. Mark Ashley commented: “Brain injury happens in an instant and exacts a devastating toll on the patient and his or her loved ones. We know treatment at the proper time and with the right scope, intensity and duration vastly improves health outcomes, functional independence and life satisfaction.” View video of testimonial Read testimonial
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5TH ANNUAL WALK FOR THOUGHT GREAT SUCCESS! Thanks to all participants and donors the 5th Annual Statewide Walk For Thought was a great success! On behalf of the Brain Injury Association of California and the Host Organizations, I would like to thank all that participated in or made donations to the Walk For Thought events across the state during the months of March and April, 2012. We set a very aggressive goal of raising $300,000 and while we did not achieve that goal, we are very pleased to report that statewide, the Walks raised over $265,000 and hosted 2,848 participants, which represents an increase of more than $60,000 and 300 participants from the 2011 Walks Donations continued to filter in through May 31st when the site was closed. Each of the nonprofit Host Organizations that we worked with us will now receive a percentage of the funds raised at their particular walk site so they may continue to serve individuals with brain injury in their local communities. These Walks could not have been accomplished without the help and dedication of the volunteer planning committees who spent many hours to prepare for the walks. The Applications for the 2013 Walks have already been received and I am very happy to report that we will have an unconfirmed total of 13 Walks in 2013. As we begin to plan for the 2013 Walks, I would like to take this time to share with you that we will be changing the name from Walk For Thought to Walk for Brain Injury. This change is being made to further our ongoing branding efforts with the Brain Injury Association of America, which will include the tag line, Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone.
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TOP PRODUCERS WALK CITY
CNS – Bakersfield Rio Hondo Sports Medicine
Heike KesslerHeiberg Deborah Doherty Lynda Eaton
Oxnard Rancho Cucamonga
San Diego San Francisco
Team Ty Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital Mercy Team
SAN JOSE FULLER TON
BIAA Applauds Victory for Coverage of Cognitive Rehabilitation The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) applauded the recent decision by Maximus®, a national leader in Independent health appeals services, to overturn a denial by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi for cognitive rehabilitation for James Butler of Madison, Miss. Mr. Butler sustained a stroke in October 2010. The external analysis states: “In a review of the literature concerning patients that receive cognitive rehabilitation, the conclusion reached is that ‘there is sufficient information to support evidence protocols and implement empirically-supported treatments for cognitive disability after traumatic brain injury and stroke.’ This patient’s neurorehabilitation is consistent with established programs in the treatment of chronic stroke and the literature indicates that cognitive rehabilitation is not experimental or investigational in nature. The use of cognitive rehabilitation is clearly medically necessary and is consistent with good medical practice for this diagnosis.” The review concludes, “Cognitive rehabilitation meets the health plan’s definition of ‘medical necessity’ as it is appropriate with regard to current standards of good medical practice and is not solely for the convenience of the member or his provider.”Through a year-long appeals process, the decision of the external review, which was just handed down, was to overturn the denial. The potential use of this precedent for people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or stroke is very important. “Coverage for cognitive rehabilitation has been a centerpiece of BIAA’s advocacy efforts for the past six years,” said Susan H. Connors, president and CEO. “BIAA will continue its efforts to bring attention to the nationwide disparities in access to medically necessary treatment, including cognitive rehabilitation, for individuals with brain injury.” According to Ms. Connors, “Getting a treatment (in this case, cognitive rehabilitation) acknowledged as a viable treatment is only the first hurdle in accessing care. Public and private payers of all types will cover a service if and only if all other conditions are met, including if the treatment is deemed ‘medically-necessary.’” Medicare and Medicaid have no national policy for brain-trauma rehabilitation, Connors says. Private insurers' coverage varies considerably. Most say they cover cognitive therapy and other brain-injury services, but each policy carries limitations. The benefits of cognitive rehabilitation have been discussed in more than 700 published research studies and are evident in positron emission tomography (PET) scans and other neuroimaging techniques in both human beings and animal models. Numerous scientific organizations and professional associations have adopted treatment guidelines or position statements in support of cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with brain injury. Federal and state governments have acknowledged the value of cognitive rehabilitation by allocating taxpayer funds for services. Lawmakers in selected states have required private insurance companies to include cognitive rehabilitation and related therapies in their accident and health insurance policies. Because of the growing body of testimonials and evidence-based literature, more and more payers are covering cognitive rehabilitation treatment. Many patients and their families do not realize rehabilitation services are available. "Patients have no idea," said Dr. Brent Masel, national medical director for BIAA. "Insurance companies don't want people to know that there's another step after they leave the hospital." Mary Hawkins Butler, wife of James Butler, fought tirelessly on her husband’s behalf. She recognized this decision could also benefit many, many more people. Ms. Butler said, “The mission was that something good would come out of this for others. I hope this ruling is just the beginning. No one with a brain injury should be put in ‘storage’ to live out their life because they are not allowed the coverage that would offer the rehabilitation to restore their dignity and give them the quality of life they deserve,” as her husband has been able to achieve. “I hope the house of cards that prevents people from getting cognitive rehabilitation from their insurance providers comes tumbling down because it is so wrong and such an injustice to the people who have already experienced such a loss to not have an avenue of hope.” Click here for the full press release. Click here the timeline of BIAA’s advocacy efforts in support of cognitive rehabilitation services.
BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA RECEIVES $17,000 DONATION The Brain Injury Association of California (BIACAL) was chosen by the Association of Petroleum Wives (APW), as their Charity for 2011-2012. The APW is an International Autonomous Not-For-Profit Organization whose goal is: to promote friendship and moral support between women whose husbands are associated with the Petroleum Industry. These beautiful and generous women hosted numerous fun filled fundraisers in Bakersfield throughout the year and worked very hard to make them successful. Proceeds from these fundraisers benefit their chosen charity, and at the annual installment dinner on May 17 th, a check in the amount of $17,000 was presented to BIACAL staff member, Elaine Solan, who is also a member of APW. Elaine was instrumental in lobbying for our cause which resulted in BIACAL having been chosen as the APW charity for 2011-2012. It is organizations like the APW, which allows BIACAL to continue our work. Association of Petroleum Wives for all their hard work and generosity.
We thank the
OTHER NOTABLE DONATIONS The Brain Injury Association of California (BIACAL) was also the recipient of proceeds from two recent brain injury conferences. Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) presented BIACAL with a check in the amount of $2,094 as part of their annual donation. In addition, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center presented BIACAL with a check in the amount of $375, proceeds from their gala fundraising event that benefitted both BIACAL and the VMC Foundation.
Revolutionary apps for simplifying everyday life with brain injury Almost everyday, we hear of new smartphone applications (“apps”) developed for just about everything, from staying organized to finding pharmacies or restaurants while on the road. These iPhone, iTouch, and iPad apps can be very useful to people with a brain injury and their families and caregivers.
CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF “APPS” 4
WHY PEOPLE WITH A TBI ARE MISUNDERSTOOD For many years it was difficult to figure out why people with TBI were so often misunderstood by the people who were not injured. These misunderstandings affect all aspects of life. Mistaken ideas affect marriages, parent-child relationships, friendships, extended family, neighbors, doctors, employers, they affect relationships with just about everyone. The first instinct, as with most “educated” professionals, was to blame the survivor. The misunderstandings occur because the survivor does not communicate effectively–he/she does not express feelings clearly, and does not always read the feelings of others properly. While these are certainly important problem areas in recovery from TBI, you might change your mind about the cause of the misunderstandings. You might I place more of the blame on the uninjured people. The worst misunderstandings often stem from wrong ideas about brain damage held by people in general, as well as medical specialists who “should” know better. The problem stems from a stereotype. A stereotype is an image that sets one group of people apart from people in general, often an exaggerated or inaccurate picture. Racism is based on racial stereotypes, just as ageism is based on stereotypes about the stages of human development. There are professional stereotypes–for example, the idea that all lawyers are conniving, greedy exploiters of misfortune, or the notion that all teachers are narrow-minded bullies who use their power to exert control over their students. In our culture, there is a stereotype of a person with “permanent brain damage” as stupid and physically and mentally out of control. A popular logo from Grateful Dead records shows a disheveled, bucktoothed young man hoisting an ice cream cone into the middle of his forehead instead of bringing it to his mouth. In the punk era, teenagers who got staggeringly wasted wore tee shirts proclaiming their brain damage, as if a brain injury made someone act extremely stoned and socially degenerate. Thousands of hospital patients have been told that they have permanent brain damage, or a brain injury, or cognitive impairment from an injury or illness. Most of them looked shocked and protested that they were not brain damaged. They assumed that they knew what it meant to be brain damaged and they knew that they did not act stupid, staggeringly stoned, or bizarre. A person who believes that permanent brain damage must cause stupidity and bizarre behavior will not recognize the real brain injury in their spouse, child, friend, employee, student, patient, or self. And the research verifies that most survivors, once they are at least one year post injury, are not seen by other people as brain injured. When symptoms like impulsive behavior or inattentiveness to the other person show up, the partner almost always gives the symptom a psychological interpretation–seeing the survivor as selfish or distant or uninterested or unmotivated, rather than brain damaged. This explains why so many love relationships, friendships, and jobs come to an end with the other person angry. It would make no sense to get mad at a person’s brain symptoms, but people get mad, and end relationships, when they see their partner as an incurable “slacker.” Why did the military discharge most of their brain-injured soldiers without getting them any medical help? It was because they looked so normal. They did not look “permanently brain damaged.” Why are 99 out of 100 severely brain injured public school students not receiving the special services that are required by law? Their parents and their teachers see them as normal. Why do so many friendships end badly after TBI? The friend does not recognize the way in which the symptoms of injury interfere with the friendship, and instead sees the symptoms as the actions of a “bad friend.” We may be nearing the turning point in which people learn to see brain damage in a different light, more accurately. In the past, people with epilepsy were often seen as insane and people with alcoholism or drug addiction were seen as immoral degenerates. These stereotypes were corrected within a single generation, through a combination of media attention and education. Brain injury awareness organizations can lead the way in correcting misunderstandings, by showing people that survivors of brain damage 4 are normal in most ways, and can be truly impressive citizens.
FLAG CUPCAKES Makes 24 cupcakes 3 cups blueberries, washed & divided 1 (18- to 19-oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix 1/3 cup applesauce 3 egg whites 1 (8 oz.) pkg. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 roll red-colored rolled fruit snack (from a 4.5 oz. box) Preheat oven to 350째 F. 1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix with applesauce, egg whites and 1 1/4 cups water for 30 seconds on low speed, then 2 minutes on medium speed. 2. Spoon batter into 24 (2-inch) aluminum or paper lined muffin cups; evenly divide about 1 cup of blueberries on top of batter; do not stir. 3. Bake cupcakes following package directions; remove to a wire rack and cool completely. 4. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon onto cooled cupcakes; spread to the edges. 5. Unroll fruit snack and, with a sharp knife, cut into strips 1/8 inch wide by 2 inches long. 6. On half of each cupcake, arrange strips, as shown, trimming each to fit. Arrange remaining 2 cups blueberries on the frosting on other halves of the cupcakes, about 10 blueberries per cupcake.
The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
SENATOR GAINES RECOGNIZES MARCH AS BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH Highlights increase in sport and military-related concussions
Senator Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) recognized March as Brain Injury Awareness Month with Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 74, a bi-partisan resolution which passed unanimously off the Senate floor. “I am pleased to recognize March as Brain Injury Awareness Month in honor of the thousands of Californians suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI),” said Gaines. “From the mild to the severe, brain injury can happen anytime to anyone – from military veterans to professional athletes. The more educated and aware we are of the causes and symptoms, the better prepared we can be to prevent and treat this ‘silent epidemic.’” Authored by Senator Gaines and co-authored by Senators Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) and Michael Rubio (D-Shafter), SCR 74 recognizes the estimated 1.7 million Americans who sustain TBI each year and reminds us that brain injuries can occur through falls, car crashes, workplace accidents, assaults and sporting-related injuries. SCR 74 also commends the Brain Injury Association of California for offering education and support to families and individuals with TBI. “I thank Senator Gaines for bringing attention to our cause and for recognizing the efforts of our organization,” said Paula Daoutis, Administrative Director of the Brain Injury Association of California. “Brain injuries can pose a lifetime of physical, cognitive and behavior challenges. Our mission is to bring help, hope and healing to those living with brain injury, their families and the professionals who serve them.” Awareness of brain injury has grown due to its prevalence among soldiers returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and high-profile sports-related-concussions. George Visger and Dan Bunz, both former linemen in the National Football League, were recognized by Senator Gaines on the Senator Floor for their advocacy on behalf of athletes suffering from TBI. Visger has made it his life’s mission to advocate and share his experiences with others. “I have lived for more than 20 years with a debilitating brain injury from hundreds, if not thousands of sports related concussions,” said Visger. “I’m still standing after nine brain surgeries and hope to see the day when the appropriate and necessary safeguards are put in place that will better protect athletes from unnecessary risk.” Knowing TBI symptoms is valuable, as timely recognition can lead to the proper medical care and mitigate the likelihood of more serious consequences. Some common signs include loss of consciousness, dizziness or loss of balance, headaches and nausea. More severe injuries may be indicated by loss of motor skills, repeated nausea and vomiting, dilated pupils and more. .
SLOW DOWN YOUR LISTENING How many times do you find your mind wandering when someone is talking to you? No, you donâ€™t have attention deficit disorder. The average person speaks at an average rate of about 120 words a minute but most people can listen about four times faster. So your mind fills in the gaps by thinking of other things. Be aware of this and slow down your listening. Force yourself to stay focused, so that you can really comprehend everything
Richard "Steelo" Vazquez Dances for the First Time Since Brain Aneurysm Richard Vazquez, aka Steelo, was born and raised in Bronx, New York. He moved to Puerto Rico at the age of 11 and began to learn how to bboy by Poeone. He continued to dance and compete winning competitions and talent shows. At the age of 18 Steelo got a modeling agent in Puerto Rico and started auditioning and touring with local Puerto Rican reageaton artist. At the age of 20 CLICK HERE TO WATCH he moved to Los Angeles where he continued pursuing bboying. He got a dance agent and became one of the top B-Boy dancers working in music, STEELO’S film and television. A member of the popular dance group The Groovaloos, Steelo worked with top talent such as Madonna, Rihanna, Usher DANCING WITH and Gwen Stefani, among others. He also appeared in Step Up 3D and THE STARTS DANCE Honey 2. Steelo has been a big part of the Los Angeles dance community for many years. He regularly gives back to the community through VIDEO dance at benefits and fundraisers and has enjoyed mentoring youth at weekly Groove Nights hosted by The Groovaloos. He and his wife Penelope had a young son named Elijah, and Steelo was on top of the world. A devoted husband to wife Penelope, proud father and an extraordinary dancer, Steelo was at the top of his game when his life took a dramatic turn that no one could have predicted… The 32-year-old father suffered a brain aneurysm. He was one of 6 million people who suffer from aneurysms every year. After a grueling dance practice last June, Steelo came home with a severe headache and was vomiting. He thought that he had a tweaked muscle so he didn't immediately go to the doctor. At church later that weekend, on Father's Day, Steelo suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm and had to undergo emergency surgery. During the operation he suffered a 2nd rupture. By the end of numerous surgeries, Steelo had suffered a shocking four ruptures and lost his ability to speak, walk and dance. Steelo spent six months in the hospital and now goes to physical rehabilitation five days a week, seven hours a day. During his excruciating rehabilitation, Steelo never gave up hope that he could recover and return to the dance floor. Today, Steelo remains in an extensive rehabilitation program where doctors and therapists are helping him relearn basic functions. His wife Penelope has constantly been by his side during the slow recovery in ICU. She has remained strong during this ordeal to care for their son Elijah. Steelo’s friends, family and doctors are very hopeful for a full recovery, but it’s going to take a great deal of therapy, time and patience. We all look forward to the day that he will once again be able to play an active role in the life of his son, as well as return to the stage with his amazing gift of dance.” AT&T and Dancing With The Stars have partnered to bring inspiring stories of people whose lives have been changed by dance. On April 30 th, Steelo performed with the Groovaloos for the first time in public since his aneurysm. It was an exciting and uplifting performance. Although Steelo isn't yet back to full strength, this performance was a testament to the perseverance he, his family and friends have shown despite all odds being against them.
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BIACAL—ATBI CONFERENCE IN LOS ANGELES FATHER’S DAY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER INDEPENDENCE DAY PARENTS DAY FRIENDSHIP DAY
you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself. So always think positively.” - NORMAN VINCENT PEALE
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What Every Family Member, Caregiver and Friend Need to Know about Brain Injury I need a lot more rest than I used to. I’m not being lazy. I get physical fatigue as well as a “brain fatigue.” It is very difficult and tiring for my brain to think, process, and organize and when I am tired it is even harder. My stamina fluctuates, even though I may look “all better” on the outside. Cognition is a fragile function for a brain injury survivor. Some days are better than others. Pushing too hard usually leads to setbacks. Brain injury rehabilitation takes a very long time; it is usually measured in years. It continues long after formal rehabilitation has ended. Please resist expecting me to be who I was, even though I look better. I am not being difficult if I resist social situations. Crowds, confusion, and loud sounds quickly overload my brain, it doesn’t filter sounds as well as it used to. Limiting my exposure is a coping strategy, not a behavioral problem. If there is more than one person talking, I may seem uninterested in the conversation. That is because I have trouble following all the different discussions and it gets exhausting trying to piece it all together. I’m not dumb or being rude; my brain is just getting overloaded! Patience is the best gift you can give me. It allows me to work deliberately and at my own pace, allowing me to rebuild pathways in my brain. Please listen to me with patience. Try not to interrupt. Allow me to find my words and follow my thoughts. Please have patience with my memory. Know that not remembering does not mean that I don’t care. Please don’t be condescending or talk to me like I am a child. I’m not stupid, my brain is injured and it doesn’t work as well as it used to. Try to think of me as if my brain were in a cast. If I do tasks the same way all the time; it is because I am retraining my brain. It’s like learning main roads before you can learn the shortcuts. Repeating tasks in the same sequence is a rehabilitation strategy. If I seem “stuck,” my brain may be stuck in the processing of information. Coaching me, suggesting other options or asking what you can do to help may help me figure it out are great options. Taking over and doing it for me will not be constructive and it will make me feel inadequate. Tasks that used to feel “automatic” and take minimal effort, now take much longer, require the implementation of numerous strategies and are huge accomplishments for me. We need cheerleaders now, as we start over, just like children do when they are growing up. Please help me and encourage all efforts. Please don’t be negative or critical and understand that I am doing the best I can. We are learning more and more about the brain everyday and no one can know for certain what our potential is. We need Hope to be able to employ the many coping mechanisms, accommodations and strategies needed to navigate our new lives. It would be easy to give up without Hope.
MISSION STATEMENT Our mission is to be the voice of brain injury. Through advocacy, education and research, we bring help, hope and healing to thousands of Californians living with brain injury, their families and the professionals that serve them.
ABOUT BIACAL As a chartered state affiliate of the Brain Injury Association of America, the Brain Injury Association of California promotes awareness of brain injury on a state, regional, and local level; provides education and training to individuals with brain injury, to family members and professionals; delivers timely and accurate information and access to resources through the BIACAL website, help line and news letters; and promotes progressive public policy while carrying out community and legislative advocacy. In all of these endeavors, BIACAL receives no federal, state or other municipal funding. The organization relies solely on donations, membership dues, sponsorships and proceeds from fund raising events to carry out its extensive programs and services.
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BIACAL MEMBERSHIP Making A Personal and Collective Impact The advantages of being a BIACAL member include access to educational information and a wide range of other resources, legislative representation, collaboration with a comprehensive group of brain injury clinical and social service specialists, the personal experiences of brain injury survivors and care givers and a steadfast and ongoing commitment to injury prevention and improving the quality of life for individuals with brain injury and their families. BIACAL annual membership levels are listed below: $10 $25 $50 $100 $500
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Brain Injury Association of California 1800 30th Street, Suite 250 Bakersfield, California 93301 (661) 872-4903
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Richard Adams, MD Mark J. Ashley, Sc.D., CCC-SLP, CCM, CBIST Doreen Casuto, RN, CRRN, CCM Deborah Doherty, MD Lynda Eaton, PT Sharon Grandinette, MS, Ed, CBIST Michelle Hartshorn, MSN, RN Dennis Hays, JD, CPA David Hovda, Ph.D. Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, Ph.D., CBIST Robert H. Ludlow Jr., Esq. Claude Munday, Ph.D. Ann Perkins, MA Randall H. Scarlett, J.D. Patsy Sholders, MA
Paula Daoutis, Administrative Director Ursula Pesta, Project Coordinator Elaine Solan, Community Liaison ………………….…………………………………………….………………….....CUT HERE...………………..……..……………...………………………………………………..
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PAYMENT OPTIONS: Membership Amount: $ Payable to BIACAL – Mail to: 1800 30TH St., #250, BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301
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Mail to the above address or FAX to (661) 840-6160
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Other Events Around the State Organization
Brain Injury Center
Free Counseling session for brain injury survivors & family members
Sports Concussion Institute
The 6th Annual June National Summit 22 on Sports Concussion & Other Athletic Injuries
Sheraton Gateway Hotel LAX, 6101 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
8:00am - 6:30pm
8th International Synmposium for Hyperbarics
The Westin Hotel Long Beach, CA
Contact for more information
International Hyperbaric Medical Association
Sat. 3687 E. Las Posas Road Contact for more every Building H, Room 188 information month Camarillo, CA 93011
Jennifer Gabrail 310-643-9595 jennifer.gabrail@ concussiotreament.com http:// www.hbot2012.com/ Sharon Phillips 954-540-1896
MARKETPLACE ADVE RTISEME NT HE ADI NG
Brain Injury Association of California TO PURCHASE CONTACT: URSULA PESTA (661) 872-4903
UMBRELLA $8.00 each + S&H
SIGNED PRINT BY ARTIST LEE BERMEJO $100 INCLUDES S&H
TOTE BAG $8.00 each + S&H