Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions, can cause a range of short-term and long-term effects on a person’s cognitive abilities, emotions, their sensory perception and more. How a person is affected depends on the severity of the injury as well as what part of the brain was impacted.
If a person suffers an injury to the left hemisphere of the brain, which is where most of our language skills come from, they may suffer from aphasia. That condition has been receiving a lot of attention since actor Bruce Willis’s family recently announced that he has it.
It’s not known precisely what caused his aphasia, although he’s made a career of starring in action movies. Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords has suffered from aphasia since being shot in the head in 2011.
What is it like to suffer from aphasia?
Aphasia can be temporary or permanent. It can get progressively worse or respond to treatment. It affects everyone differently, although many people suffer the same issues.
Although people often think of aphasia as a condition that affects cognitive skills, receptive aphasia affects the ability to recognize words. Expressive aphasia affects the ability to find the words needed to communicate. Former Rep. Giffords describes it this way: “The words are right there on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t always get them out.”
Fortunately, there are various therapies available that can help some people with aphasia recover some or all of their language skills. However, first, an accurate diagnosis of the condition is necessary. Sometimes, language issues show up immediately after an injury and then dissipate on their own. Other times, it can take longer for the symptoms to become apparent.
If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a crash or other incident that was caused by someone else, it’s important not to accept a settlement until you know the full extent of the injury and its potential ramifications. It’s always wise to have legal guidance in these cases.