Traumatic brain injuries are the focus of local foundation

Often when one thinks about teens and brain injuries it is in the context of concussions incurred by teen athletes while participating in a team sport. Of course, that is not the only way that teens end up with injuries to their brains. Car accidents are another major cause of traumatic brain injuries, (TBI) to teens throughout Florida.

Participants in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s outpatient pediatric rehabilitation program know this first hand. One girl was injured when the car she was riding in was T-boned by another. Another, when a car hit the motorcycle she was riding on with a friend, launching her from the bike. A boy was walking with friends when a car hit him. All three of these teens spent countless hours in physical therapy relearning how to do the things most of us take for granted each day, like walking and talking.

What some people fail to realize is for those recovering from TBI, recovery extends beyond the physical. There are other issues that are not visible. Short term memory issues and problems with organization and planning may affect their ability to complete daily tasks. Accordingly, recreational therapists at Jackson Memorial Hospital work with the teens in their outpatient rehabilitation program to get them used to what it means to live with TBI outside of the hospital. Now, the Caviglia Bluewater Foundation has made it easier to work on these skills by funding outings such as barbecues where it is up to the teens to take care of each piece of the event. The teens have also gone kayaking and sailing.

Alex Caviglia, was a Miami business man who dealt with traumatic brain injury for nearly a year after a kite-boarding accident. After he died from a blood clot, the foundation was created by his family in his memory. In addition to publicizing what those who have sustained a TBI have to deal with on a daily basis, according to Silvia Caviglia, one goal of the foundation is to “empower the kids so they can feel more sure of themselves.” Part of this is providing social outings for a group that often cannot socialize the same way they once did.

According to the Caviglia Foundation website, nearly 5.3 million people of all ages are dealing with the after effects of a traumatic brain injury, throughout the country. Hopefully donations from foundations such as these will help to ease the recovery for all.

Source: The Miami Herald,” Foundation helps teens suffering from traumatic brain injury,” Ana Veciana-Suarez, Aug. 12, 2011