Posted on March 8, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 29 of 32 in the series Kelly

Motivation after TBI: Kelly Part Twenty Nine

While any analysis based on a single interview and “self-report” is potentially flawed, based upon our lengthy interview and her accomplishments since her severe brain injury, it appears Kelly has few deficits in many of the classic cognitive and frontal areas.  It is likely that the drive and discipline that made her successful before her injury, have helped her overcome many classic symptoms. Her motivation after TBI has been remarkable. Motivation after TBI can sometimes be a huge deficit for some brain injury survivors.

Now, in terms of classic cognitive functioning, you’re not reporting any of these issues.  Your memory is good? 

Yes, my memory is good.

You are able to remember the bones in the, and the muscles:

Bones, insertions and origins of muscles, actions of muscles.

How were your grades when you went back to school?

They were better.

Better than they had been as an undergrad?

Yes.  As an undergrad my first time, my GPA upon graduation in ’86 was a 2.1.  This degree I was a 2.25.

So, you still had some classes that you had difficulty with?


What was the most difficult for you?

Anatomy and physiology. Pinpointing the minute action of something.

You weren’t the only one in your program with problems with that?

I’m sure I wasn’t.

Let me talk about more of the classic frontal lobe issues like motivation after TBI, because, from your description, you had a frontal lobe injury.


Do you feel like you get absentminded?

I’m sure I can.  I don’t feel like I do intentionally.

Do you have trouble making decisions?


Do you have trouble motivating yourself to do things?


Motivation after TBI ; do you feel like you have problems with motivation after TBI?

Actually I don’t.   I’m really proud of myself in some areas because I’ve been told I have a lack of judgment; and I agree, I do have a lack of judgment in some areas.  But, a lot of people say, “Kelly, would you please come help me do this when this happens, because I need your motivation.”  I tend to empower, empower others.

You’re naturally outgoing personality and go-getter type personality that made you good at your job as a salesperson.  Those personality traits survived?


To some degree they make up for some of the areas where typically a person with a brain injury might have some deficits?


Can you explain that?

Well, one girl who just happens to be my age – her birthday is Friday – and I, she was born premature; and then on top of that she had a aneurism; then on top of that she had a stroke; and then on top of that she had a nervous breakdown from a mentally or verbally abusive partner.  So she has all of these impairments and she just cannot seem to get back into the groove. She wants autonomy but she just cannot quite grasp those.  Her cognitive issues are greater than her ability to achieve those.  And so, she calls me for motivation.

As they used to say in the military: 4.0 Kelly, 4.0.

Next in Part Thirty – Problems Handling Money Post TBI

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

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