Posted on February 18, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 6 of 36 in the series Zachary

Severe Weight Loss after TBI : Zach Part Six

In part six I discussed the physical problems that occurred such as severe weight loss after TBI along with muscle atrophy.

From what you’ve told me, you had a brain pressure problem, probably a hematoma where you said the blood accumulation was.

I did have a brain tube that was reducing the pressure, yeah.

A shunt to get the excess fluids out?


At the time you go to Spaulding Rehab, have they removed all that hardware from your head?

Yeah. I still had my feeding tube in so.

Do you know when they took the trach out?

The trach was out after I got my jaw unwired.

So the trach was more because you couldn’t open your mouth to eat than it was because you couldn’t breath?


So you had a feeding tube, when you still went to Spaulding which could attribute to severe weight loss after TBI?

Yes, I did.

Talk to me about the change in your body image as you start to appreciate what’s happening to you? You said you were a 147 pound buff jock.

I don’t know about buff.  But they just weren’t feeding me enough.  I used to eat constantly.  I couldn’t put on weight. I was always active like doing stuff, so I just ran off all the calories.  They would limit me to like three like cans of baby food a day to put in the tube and it goes into my stomach.  That just wasn’t enough for me, and that’s why I ended up losing so much weight.

When did you become aware that that you had severe weight loss after TBI?  Is there anything specific that you remember about that?

I just remember they put me on a bed and that’s how they weighed me, Right when I got to Spaulding Rehab, I weighed 121.  I was like what?  Like are you serious?  Like I just lost all that weight?  And that was like hard earned weight that I had gained over the years.  I mean, it wasn’t a lot but I worked hard for that.

Could you see the difference when you looked at yourself with your severe weight loss after TBI?

Actually, I would look at myself, and even though I was skinny, I thought I was fat, because I had a belly. I never really had a belly before, and so I was like: “Oh, my God.  Like I look so gross.”

So you’d lost 20, 25 pounds, but you also lost all your muscle definition cause you weren’t  working out, just laying in your bed.

Yeah, yeah.

Getting enough nutrition to someone in a coma is almost a universal problem, far more complicated than just adding a few extra jars of food a day.  For an informative video on “enternal feeding” tubes, click here.


Next in Part Seven –

Brain Injury Rehab Different Type of Recovery for Star Athlete

About the Author

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