This is the first of a two part episode about a groundbreaking new book called Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Survivors and Families. BIAWA Board Member Richard Adler, who authored the book, joins Deborah along with Brandon Blake and Sabrina Bonaparte, who contributed their perspectives as a survivor and caregiver, to discuss how it can serve as an invaluable resource for those navigating the difficulties of brain injury. Richard, Brandon and Sabrina discuss how they worked together to create this comprehensive, step-by-step guidebook and their hopes for getting it into the hands of as many people as possible.
Work is one of the biggest challenges for brain injury survivors. It’s common for survivors to lose or leave jobs after a brain injury. And even those who maintain employment will likely need accommodations. In this episode Deborah speaks with Dr. Bob Fraser, a psychologist who runs the Neurological Vocational Services Unit (NVSU), a nonprofit that helps people with brain injuries and other neurological conditions find and maintain employment. Dr. Bob, as we like to call him, talks about the different challenges brain injury survivors face with work and the various resources available to help.
As Chief of Pediatrics at Harborview Medical Center, Dr. Brian Johnston sees brain injuries in young children from all over the state and region. So there’s really no one better to talk to about how to prevent brain injury in our youngest kids! In this episode Deborah and Brian talk about how changes to the products we use and our built environment can make a huge difference in reducing common causes of brain injury in kids, such as falls, what parents can do to keep kids safe, and how his department has changed their approach to injury prevention over the years.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington has been involved in improving sports safety policy for kids for over a decade. In this episode, Deborah speaks with three key players who have helped BIAWA improve sports policy in the state and across the nation: the University of Washington’s Dr. Stan Herring, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Justin Kesterson, and Richard Adler, a renowned personal injury attorney with the firm Adler Giersch. The four discuss the passage of the Lystedt Law in 2009, which was eventually adopted across the country, the Kenney Bui rule, which passed in 2020, what each policy entails and the heroic families that honored their loved ones by lending their names and sharing their stories to advocate and pass better sports safety policy in Washington and beyond.
Sims Weymueller and Stacy Connole’s son was just four years old when he sustained a traumatic brain injury that upended their lives. In this episode of Brain Injury Today, Sims and Stacy share their story so that other families can learn from it and know that they are not alone. Sims and Stacy spoke with BIAWA Executive Director Deborah Crawley about navigating the school system as their son entered kindergarten and helping his older brother cope with the trauma. They want other families to know that recovery is possible with enough time and support, and that the Brain Injury Alliance offers services to support families with fewer resources.
As more people get vaccinated and governments lift COVID restrictions, there is pressure to race back to “normal” life. But given brain injury survivors’ fatigue and overstimulation it’s important to re-build in a way that meets their needs and values. In this episode of Brain Injury Today, Deborah Crawley speaks with therapist Lori Weisman about “conscious re-entry,” how to identify and prioritize your values, and becoming comfortable with saying “no” when it’s time to take care of yourself.