Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support Group:
Brain and spinal cord injury occur in young adults – people between the ages of 18 and 34 – more than any other age group in the United States. Every year 1.7 million people sustain a brain injury and 12,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury . Brain and spinal cord injury are correlated to risky behavior such as:
- * Injury-prone sports: Skateboarding, football, cheerleading, hockey, and skiing are among the top injury-prone sports
- * Distracted Driving: Texting, Using a cell phone or smartphone, Eating and drinking, Talking to passengers, Grooming, Reading, including maps, Using a navigation system, Watching a video, Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player are the top reasons for distracted driving
- Substance Abuse: 30% of people requiring rehabilitation after injury were intoxicated at the time of their injury
- Exposure to violence and violent behavior: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 11% of traumatic brain injury deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits combined are related to assaults
Young adults are more likely than other age groups to be engage in or exposed to risky behaviors and men are two and one-half times more likely to die from injuries resultant from accidents (unintentional injuries), homicide, and suicide – the three leading causes of death in young adults.
One of the most devastating and long-lasting result of brain and spinal cord injury is isolation. The National Resource Center explains after injury, many survivors describe feeling lonely — even when they are surrounded by other people. This loneliness may arise for many different reasons.
- Difficulty talking to other people or understanding what others are saying are common problems survivors face after injury. Communication problems can make relating to other people and explaining your thoughts and feelings very difficult. These problems can lead to feeling misunderstood and isolated.
- Many survivors feel self-conscious after their injuries. They may worry about being different or less capable than other people. Self-consciousness can make it harder to spend time with other people or seek out new relationships.
After injury, many survivors worry about what others will think of them and may feel nervous about being around other people. They may be afraid of being hurt or rejected by other people.
- Many survivors notice they are more irritable after their injuries. When irritated, they may say or do things they regret later on. Some survivors try to stay away from those they care about for fear of behaving poorly. Family and friends may also avoid you if they are worried about what you might say or do.
- Fatigue and low energy are common problems after brain injury. Survivors may not have the energy to do things they used to enjoy or to spend time with friends and family. Family and friends may also worry about tiring you out when they invite you to do something.
- Pain and other physical problems often make it harder for survivors to do things they used to enjoy. You may also have trouble leaving the house, traveling, or visiting other people. Injury-related limitations make it harder to nurture and build relationships.
- Many survivors are not able to drive or work after their injury. Lack of transportation and money may make it hard to visit others or do things you enjoy.
- People generally make friends through work or being involved in social or recreational activities. After injury, survivors often stop working and may not be involved in sports, church, and other activities. You may lose contact with friends and co-workers because you don’t see them as much.
- Friends and family may feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say, how to act, or how to help. Discomfort may make it harder for them to relate to you or spend time with you. Help them out by letting them know about your positive and negative feelings and what they can do to help you
In Huntsville, the “All Cracked Up” Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support group is one way young adults can overcome the isolation of brain and spinal cord injury and start connecting with people who understand. The group meets on second Saturdays from 11:00 – 1:00 to eat lunch, play games, plan events and share what’s happening in each others lives. Shannon shares, “One of the most valuable benefit of the brain and spinal cord injury support group is finding a place where you feel comfortable and can talk with people who “get it,” who truly understand your issues. What surprised me was all of the how helpful it was to share “strategies,” those amazing little tools that help you do things you couldn’t do otherwise. Many of us struggle with performing simple everyday tasks like getting dressed in the morning and making supper. Group members share “strategies” for what works for them — and it feels like a light bulb lights up inside your head!”
“All Cracked Up” is open to people ages 17 to 40ish and meets on second Saturdays at Therapy Achievements. For more information, to get a schedule of meetings, or to get on the mailing list, contact Karen at 256-509-4398 or firstname.lastname@example.org.