Tuesdays with Marilyn

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Yesterday morning, I had the honor of having breakfast with Marilyn Price Spivack, founder of the Brain Injury Association of America. We sat at a table overlooking Boston Harbor, and we talked about a range of brain injury related topics spanning from the war in Iraq to the various obstacles, trials and triumphs brain injury survivors have experienced in the past several decades. It was truly inspiring to hear her perspective on so many issues.

One of Marilyn’s regrets involves the fact that the term “brain injury” has become a commonly accepted term in the public instead of “head injury.” From a clinical standpoint, the term “brain injury” makes sense because it is specific. But from a survivor’s standpoint, the term carries a tremendous stigma. Marilyn admits that “brain injury” is now inextricable from our vernacular, but she nevertheless bemoans the stigma that plagues the diagnosis.

It is now our job to remove the stigma ourselves. As individuals somehow concerned with TBI issues, we need to encourage, facilitate, and promote an understanding that brain injury is treatable, and that survivors continue to make gains throughout the course of their lives. One way we can do this is to invite professionals from the Brain Injury Association into our workplaces educate us about brain–or head–injuries.

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