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Brain injuries: What happens when the brain isn't working right?

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Arizona, and it's a time to focus on what brain injuries are and how the effects of a traumatic brain injury can impact a person's life.

Your brain is effectually the control center of your entire body. It processes everything your body goes through, including your emotions, creative ideas and basic bodily functions. The brain works in combination with the rest of the nervous system to send and receive messages from neurons all throughout the body. These neurons monitor and provide feedback to the brain on processes like your heart beating, your body temperature, what you are seeing and even what you next action should be.

Even though the brain is arguably the most important organ in your body, it is still very sensitive to trauma. The skull provides a basic level of protection but a fall, car accident or other event can quickly cause an injury that can have devastating effects. Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim may experience minor problems with memory and coordination, may have trouble speaking or regulating emotions or may even experience lack of bladder control or paralysis.

It is possible to recover from a brain injury, and many victims go on to lead normal lives, but it is impossible to accurately predict what recovery will look like or how long it will take. Victims must undergo treatments and keep up with rehabilitative therapy all while trying to navigate an often confusing world of medical bills, insurance payments and making ends meet while taking time off work. Victims who are injured through the fault of a third party may be able to be awarded compensation by the courts in a civil lawsuit to help with the financial stresses of recovery.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, "Living With Brain Injury" accessed Mar. 12, 2015

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