They say that the brain works in mysterious ways, and there’s still much for scientists to learn, but there have been many breakthroughs. For example, studies revealed that victims of traumatic brain injuries felt like they were a different person after suffering the trauma.
Doctors do know that TBI can cause physiological changes in the brain that affect how it perceives and processes information, damaging the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for regulating emotions and managing behaviors. It can translate into inappropriate, impulsive, and perhaps even criminal behavior.
The tragic life of Aaron Hernandez
There are many examples to draw upon, but one that quickly comes up for many is the tragic life of football player Aaron Hernandez. The NFL tight end played for the New England Patriots. Over time, friends recall that Hernandez’s personality changed, turning rageful and impulsive. Hernandez was eventually convicted of murdering two friends and then hung himself in his jail cell. A posthumous medical examination determined that he suffered an extreme case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The cause of the disease was the continued blows to the head from playing football, including as a high schooler and college star.
It’s not just football players
Players in other sports, as well as others, can also suffer head trauma and suffer concussions. The trauma could involve injuries at work or even a motor vehicle collision. While they do not state the cause of the injuries, neuropsychologists have found that incarcerated inmates in the prison system have a much higher rate of brain injuries than those in the general population.
What to look for
The changes in behavior may not involve violent outbursts. Other TBI symptoms include:
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty holding a job
- Memory loss
- Difficulty planning, organizing or executing tasks
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Diagnosis is difficult
An individual may suffer a concussion or injury to the head, but there still may not be symptoms. Even if they are lucky enough to get magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the victim’s results may not show any brain damage. Sadly, it is often up to loved ones to identify the personality changes. Moreover, they are the ones who will likely have to step in and get the victim the help they need. They may also need to contact a personal injury attorney to help secure compensation if the injuries were due to others’ negligence.