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NFL, NHL Player Deaths Shed Light on Substance Abuse Issues for TBI Victims

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Recovering from one traumatic brain injury (TBI) is challenging enough, but Jan Michelle Brown explains in the video above how she recovered from two TBIs. Furthermore, while recovering from the brain injuries, she was also trying to overcome substance abuse.

Unfortunately, alcohol and drug abuse are common issues for many TBI victims. Two recent stories have served as an important reminder for all of us as to the challenges these injuries can cause with addiction. USA Today reported on June 1, 2012, that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had also been taking Ambien, the brand name for zolpidem, a drug prescribed for sleep disorders. Seau died last month from what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his brain is currently being studied for possible chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease that can only be diagnosed postmortem. Just three days after that story was published, the New York Times reported that during his final three seasons in the NHL, former hockey player Derek Boogaard “received more than 100 prescriptions for thousands of pills from more than a dozen team doctors.” Boogaard died in May 2011 from an accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers and alcohol, and suffered so much CTE damage that scientists said his condition “likely would have worsened into middle-aged dementia.”

The higher-profile stories surrounding professional athletes are tragic examples of the devastating effects of brain injuries, but Brown’s story is an inspiring testimonial to the fact that recovery is still possible for the many others dealing with substance abuse issues following a TBI. Brown has now been living in recovery from addiction for a quarter-century and now serves as the founding and executive director of the Williamsburg, Virginia-based SpiritWorks Foundation, which helps individuals recover from addiction. It is important to remember that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year. These brain injuries can be the result of serious car accidents or simple slip and falls, but substance abuse issues can arise from any TBI, whatever the cause. If you or a loved one is trying to recover from a TBI that was caused by another party’s negligence, contact our Orlando personal injury law firm to schedule a free consultation with our brain injury lawyers to see how we can help.

Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys