Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
This excerpt from the documentary, “Fractured Minds,” focuses on U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers and veterans. Here we meet four individuals living with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) acquired in combat. The individuals give a glimpse into their lives as they share what they remember of acquiring their injuries and how their injuries have negatively impacted their lives. This video is available on the InTheirBoots YouTube channel. In Their Boots is an organization devoted to helping war veterans and their families through filmmaking. (00:09:42)
This part of the documentary, “Fractured Minds,” features the same four individuals and goes into some depth about their difficulties in everyday life as a result of their TBIs. We hear from experts about the neurological and functional changes that these individuals have undergone. A major focus of this segment is the negative changes in academic, occupational, and everyday abilities (especially memory) that TBI has caused these individuals. This piece of the documentary also explains some of the process of TBI rehabilitation. Of the three segments, this video may be the most helpful to professionals who serve this population. This video is available on the InTheirBoots YouTube channel. In Their Boots is an organization devoted to helping war veterans and their families through filmmaking. (00:09:14)
A major focus of this segment is the relational experiences of these four veterans who have suffered from TBI. We are able to see some of the impact of TBI on the entire family. This segment also highlights some important progress that these individuals have made and what they hope for in the future. One of the individuals urges viewers not to pass judgment and to be as compassionate with those who have hidden injuries as one would be with a veteran with a missing limb or another obvious physical injury. This video is available on the InTheirBoots YouTube channel. In Their Boots is an organization devoted to helping war veterans and their families through filmmaking. (00:07:47)
This video features an interview with Jan, a woman who suffered two traumatic brain injuries during her recovery from addiction. Jan speaks about the difficulties of suffering these injuries at such a critical time in her life and how she felt she missed out on some of the benefits of growth and change she could have experienced in recovery. She talks about her inability to feel pleasure and the effects of memory loss and lack of attention on her recovery process. This video would be great for mental health professionals or individuals in recovery to learn about ways treatment can be modified to help suit particular needs. This video is available on BrainLine.org’s YouTube channel Brainline. (00:03:21)
Kevin Pearce, former Snowboarding Olympic hopeful and subject of the HBO documentary ‘The Crash Reel,’ is interviewed on ABC Radio National and talks about the story of the snowboarding accident that left him with a severe TBI. Pearce talks about the injury, his recovery, his friends and family, and his involvement in the Love Your Brain Campaign through the Center of Disease Control Foundation. Pearce wants to send a message to young people and their families to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from experiencing a similar injury. This video is available on the abcradionational YouTube channel. (00:12:59)
TJ Lavin talks about his experience with TBI and how he had to relearn the simplest tasks after his injury. He urges everyone to wear the right kind of helmet, saying that to do anything less is to do yourself a major disservice. This video is available on the CDCFoundationTBI YouTube channel. (00:01:09)
This video provides an overview about what brain injuries are, how they can occur, and the long- and short-term symptoms that typically come with them. Dr. O’Shanick describes in easy-to-understand detail how such an injury can impact many facets of an individual’s life. This video is available on the BIAVirginia YouTube channel. (00:05:30)
This video is aimed at individuals working with youth within the juvenile justice system. Dr. Jeffrey Kreutzer describes the project’s goal of properly evaluating brain injury in incarcerated youth. He briefly describes brain injury and the impact that such injuries typically have on behavior. This video would be great for anyone working with this population in order to raise greater awareness about the possible biological roots of incarcerated juveniles’ behaviors. This video is available on the BIAVirginia YouTube channel. (00:04:05)
Sources for more short videos on TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
- Brainline: Brainline.org’s YouTube Channel
- InTheirBoots YouTube Channel
- NAMIvideo: National Alliance on Mental Health YouTube Channel
- BIAVirginia: Brain Injury Association of Virginia YouTube Channel
- CDC Foundation TBI: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Heads Up Campaign YouTube Channel
The Crash Reel is a deeply moving feature-length documentary about traumatic brain injury (TBI). In it, filmmaker Lucy Walker masterfully tells the story of champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce, and how he and his family’s lives were changed forever after one fateful moment.
This film works on many different levels. At first viewers might think they are just watching a typical MTV style documentary glamorizing youth and extreme sports. The film, however, soon becomes something much more multi-faceted. While it presents interesting insights into the lives and choices of elite athletes, it also has broader relevance as an eye-opening portrait of the lifelong impact that a traumatic brain injury can have on a person and their loved ones.
Kevin Pearce was an Olympic hopeful who was seen as real competition to Shaun White. His sport of snowboarding has not only been growing in popularity in recent years, but in degree of risk and difficulty as well. Injuries are becoming more frequent and devastating in all “extreme sports” as broadcasters and fans come to expect more complicated and dangerous maneuvers.
In the population that includes athletes and returning veterans, the number of traumatic brain injuries is increasing dramatically, with at least 1.7 million occurring every year. Yet awareness about how to treat these injuries and manage their consequences has not kept pace.
When Pearce was injured during practice for the Olympics, his family heroically rallied to his side, spending months helping him emerge from a coma and learn to walk and function physically again. The mental effects, however, proved even more challenging. They included damage to his brain’s ability to manage language, vision, motor skills, and memory. TBI also causes impulsivity and poor judgment.
Even if one survives a TBI, the brain is left in a much more fragile state. After the first TBI, one is 6 times more likely to experience another. These second injuries have even more devastating consequences than the first. For Pearce, this meant having to gradually come to terms with the fact that he could no longer aspire to the dream he had been working toward his whole life.
At first, Pearce was understandably reluctant to admit that he could never be the athlete or person he once was, and he tried to return to competitive snowboarding. His family desperately attempted to convince him that he could no longer follow this path. The heart and soul of the film is his brother, David, who has Downs’s syndrome. He possesses great emotional intelligence – more than most people. It is very moving to hear him eloquently express his worries about what another injury would put the family through again.
Pearce is now a sports commentator working to educate the public about TBI and supporting those coping with it through the LoveYourBrain outreach campaign and his Kevin Pearce Fund. The Crash Reel is a much-needed window into the aftermath of traumatic brain injury, and should serve well to increase public attention and as a call to action.