Every Brain Injury Is Unique

Tenacity, repetition, and hope contribute greatly to a successful outcome after a TBI.

A small decrease in the ability to function for somebody who is brilliant is often very difficult for them to swallow because they are acutely aware of this small difference, and it's often very disabling to them. I mean--I'm seeing this woman now who has had a severe injury, who tests out with a 150 IQ. There are significant deficits that she has on neuropsych testing, and she has tremendous functional deficits in terms of fatigue and sensory issues, in terms of light and sound and all these other things, that make it almost impossible for her to function, yet her IQ is amazingly high. So, again, this is another woman who's a lawyer, okay. The discrepancy there--you know--so somebody looks at that IQ and says, "How can this person be brain-injured?" Okay, you follow her all day and see what she's doing. She can't function. Some success stories, okay? One was a woman who had a brain injury in her first semester of law school. Severe, severe injury. Was able to finish law school. It took her an extra year, so it took her four years instead of three. Passed the bar, and is now working as an attorney for one of the federal agencies. She did great. Passed the bar on the first time. There are people with a brain injury--we have a video on You Tube: "Do I Have a Brain Injury?" One of the people in that video is a woman who graduated from the University of California, Phi Beta Kappa, went on to get her PhD, is extremely brilliant. She had three brain injuries. There are many, many people like that. I think there's too much negative about brain injury. I think, yes, there are some people who don't do well, but there are some people who do marvelously well. So I think part of my job is always to give people hope.
Posted on BrainLine March 15, 2011.

About the author: Wayne Gordon, PhD

Wayne Gordon, PhD, ABPP/Cn, is the Jack Nash Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and associate director of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is a neuropsychologist and the director of the Mount Sinai Brain Injury Research Center.

Dr. Wayne Gordon

Produced by Noel Gunther, Ashley Gilleland, Victoria Tilney McDonough, and Brian King.