Posted on January 28, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Betty

Brain Injury Physical Disability: Betty Part Four

Brain injury physical disability can come from severe brain injury.  Brain injury,  brain damage is thought of as a thinking disorder, a problem which effects memory, concentration. But the brain controls everything that we are, how we move, how we breath, the mechanism of speech, vision balance. how we feel, all of our senses, which can all be considered a  brain injury physical disability.  Coma and severe brain injuries are often followed by severe brain injury physical disability and physical limitations and the need for intensive physical therapy. Betty was one of those cases.

I was paralyzed on my left side  for approximately a month and a half.  I also had an eye injury.  I know mom took me to the eye institute a couple of times but in physical therapy it was a lot of bending and trying to utilize the arm to get the muscle back to operating function.  I know I’ve got a minimal left-sided weakness and I’ll have that for the rest of my life.  I know that’s there because I can tell but it’s something that I work around and when I exercise I just try to do the best I can with the exercises that I’m able to do.

I had four years of outpatient therapy at Curative and also in the hospitals when I was able to stand up and start walking the physical therapists were working with me frequently on being able to move and operate my body in the proper way.


An Example of Brain Injury Physical Disability:

Betty was sitting throughout our interview, so that left sided weakness is not obvious on the video, but an experienced eye would no doubt see it in her gait, the way she carries herself. If you have seen Lethan’s “Who Am I Again”, you will not forget his heel toe, heel toe, demonstration.  Betty has similar struggles.

I carried myself a little differently because of the left-sided weakness that I had.  I didn’t have to wear a brace on my leg so I was thankful for that but my walking was not as a normal person walks.  My dad and I would go out for walks when the weather was nice and the big thing I had to remember was heel, toe, heel, toe and all of a sudden if my feet started to hurt I’d just remind myself that I got to go back to heel, toe, heel, toe when I walk.

She also suffered visual and balance problems in the wreck, which is another brain injury physical disability.

People think of “seizures” as the profound shaking and foaming at the mouth that does occur with a grand mal seizure and such seizure is a significant risk from a coma injury.  Yet seizures come in many other varieties as well, including what are called “absence spells” where a person seemingly fully conscious and aware, loses time, gets lost confused, with no recollection of what occurred. See That has happen to Betty, although not with the frequency it did in the early years of her recovery.

I might be just sitting by myself in my family room and three or four minutes later I’ll look at the clock, oh, I should be making dinner now.  Then I get up and do what I have to do.  Yeah, that has happened from time to time.

See also


For Part Five, click here.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447