Long Road to Recovery for Victims of Brain Injuries

giffords.jpgAfter the recent tragic events in Arizona, and as U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ continues on her road to recovery, the media and the general public have an increased focus on brain injuries and medical advances that can lead to recovery from their neurological trauma. As accused gunman Jared Loughner awaits the next phase of his trial after pleading “not guilty”, Giffords and her team of doctors continue to make strides in her rehabilitation process. Although her progress thus far has been remarkable, Giffords faces a long road ahead in her recovery.

On the other side of the country in New York, Emilie Gossiaux is fighting her own battle with a serious brain injury. Left blinded after being hit by a truck this past October, Gossiaux also suffered a stroke and brain trauma subsequent to the accident. For Gossiaux, as with many victims of brain trauma, the return to normalcy began with attempting to return to everyday activities. As motor function improves, a care plan generally progresses to more complex tasks, such as occupational and speech therapy. Gossiaux faces the additional challenge of coping with the loss of her eyesight, an obstacle that exacerbates the difficulty associated with recuperating from expected injuries from brain trauma, such as reduced cognition and memory loss. Despite the inherent hurdles of her recovery, Gossiaux remains positive that she will return to lead a full life.

Support from family and friends, if not a tangible factor hastening recovery, has certainly provided comfort and peace of mind to both Gossiaux and Giffords. After Giffords was able to massage her husband Mark Kelly’s neck and shoulders last week, Kelly told Diane Sawyer, “It’s so typical…that no matter how bad the situation might be for her…she’s looking out for other people.” Kelly’s presence at Giffords’ bedside, much like the presence of family and friends at the side of Gossiaux, display at the very least inspiration to the victims to keep working and striving through the recovery process.

Website Resource: Inside a brain injury recovery, CNN, Elizabeth Landau, January 24, 2011.

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