Getting Help After a Second Brain Injury

Ask the Expert: Getting Help After a Second Brain Injury

Sixteen years ago, I had a moderate to severe brain injury. I had a lot of rehab and made a good recovery. A year and a half ago, I was in another car crash in which I was struck from the rear by a large truck. At the site of the crash, I was a bit confused but thought I was okay. It didn’t occur to me to have my brain checked.

Now, I am told by friends and family that I am not the same “old me.” I don’t trust anyone, I have lost my job, and have little time that would be considered positive.

How can I find out if my brain was injured again in that second crash? And if so, what sort of treatment should I get?


Once you get a brain injury, it actually increases your likelihood of getting a second injury. That's why it's so important to get a "snapshot" of your brain through neuropsychological — or cognitive — testing. Evaluating the brain's functioning allows people to see what areas of the brain have been affected, and what areas remain strong. Most of the testing relies on verbal or written responses, but several measures rely on other information sources. The testing could take hours or even days to complete. Following the completion and scoring of the tests, a licensed neuropsychologist will present patients with a full report that details the brain's many different areas. You'll be able to see where brain functioning is normal, and where it may fall outside of normal limits.

When a person gets a complete neuropsychological evaluation, it can act as a baseline standard against any future changes.

In the case of a second head injury, you should contact your prior treatment center and ask for any records that may include previous cognitive testing. Once you have these records, you can then take them to a neuropsychologist, who will help you determine any differences that may have resulted from a second brain injury.

When cognitive testing is conducted by a licensed neuropsychologist, the report should also include a specific recommendation for the treatment of any impairments discovered. You can then use that document to pursue a specific course of care, which may include rehabilitation options, therapeutic assistance, or medical management.

As you age, you might also experience changes in brain function. If you find that you seem to be experiencing new challenges many years after a brain injury, it's a good idea to request an updated neuropsychological test, so you can determine if additional care may be helpful.


Posted on BrainLine April 22, 2010.

Comments (3)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

got my back fixed.its a temporary fix.will need my head somewhat straight again.also a good attorney accepted my case.hope it settles soon.that would be nice
I suffered a moderate to severe head injury in 1996.Made a huge recovery,only to have it trashed when I got rear ended.I had disc prolapsed compressing my spine with sever pain.Blurred vision and a loss of abilty to do things I re learned how to do.I cant believe one DR said the prolapsed disc was degeneritive when I had zero symptoms until I got slammed in the rear.My lower back now is in extreme pain.I am told not to bring up my pre existing injuries when I go to the dr for treatment for my neck pain,I do believe it is possible to re injure your brian,your lower spine as well as herniate discs that have signs of degeneration.My nuerologist said,I needed surgery,then I go to the surgery evaluation and all of a sudden it arthritus?wtf?I kinda pissed.I will see my neuro again in a day or so.I hope he can solve this mystery of how I am in so much pain and confision after getting rear ended at a high speed.Any attorney who practices in Pa and has experience with second brain injury and re injuring pre existing spine injuries please contact me nesara311 instance before I went in to see my neuro his office staff told me that I could not mention the pain in my back and only talk about my neck WTF???Has everyone gone insane?
I am a 47 year old male. I too suffered a second tbi in December of 2008. My first was a moderate to serious injury caused by a drunk driver in the Fall of 1985. My second was from a simple slip and fall on the ice at work with a brief loss of concienceness. I too am struggling. I am/was a high achiever but now I struggle with everyday mundane things. My job is in jeopardy, Voc Rehab. isn't really a lot of help and my Companies W/C has denied any liabilty. I am working with Madonna Rehab in Lincoln NE but I am really starting to lose hope. I am afraid of not only losing my mind...but of losing everything I've worked so hard to get.