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Employers Must Accommodate Brain Injury Victims

Brain-Injury

Concussions in industry have received significantly more attention since major lawsuits were filed with the National Football League. Sports aside, though, traumatic brain injury affects more than a million Americans every year. Not only are many of these brain injuries suffered at Louisiana job sites, but a growing number of workers say they find that their employers refuse to make adequate accommodations for workers who have suffered TBIs.

Experts say that many people do not seek medical attention after suffering a brain injury because they do not understand how serious blows to the head can really be. One art consultant tells about her experience with a modest injury that had a major impact on her career. While working at the Midwestern firm, the woman was traveling with her boss to a major metro for an art show. She slipped and fell before getting onto a bus with her colleagues, and her head hit the pavement. The woman brushed it off as a minor injury and continued with her day.

Pretty soon, however, the woman found herself struggling to concentrate at work, and she experienced painful headaches. Her job capacity diminishe,d and she began to fear that she would be fired. This is not an uncommon situation, according to physicians, who report that scores of Louisiana residents fail to identify their experiences as traumatic brain injuries.

Doctors say that even though they often advocate for their patients' careers, employers may be loath to accommodate those with brain injuries. This may be because brain injuries cause invisible symptoms such as amnesia; instead of being an obvious illness, like the flu, brain trauma is not detectable in many instances unless diagnosed by a physician. Sadly, those with traumatic brain injuries experience a 400 percent increase in unemployment and a 50 percent drop in income after they are injured.

People who have suffered traumatic brain injury at work deserve the financial compensation to pay for their medical expenses and rehabilitation. Even though brain injury is not easy to see, it can be managed through comprehensive medical intervention.

Source: www.wbez.org, "Returning to work after a brain injury" Shannon Heffernan, Nov. 25, 2013

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