Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often termed the “invisible disability.” Despite, perhaps, no apparent signs of injury, an individual’s neurological functions can be severely impaired.
Jackie Moore, TBI survivor and co-founder of Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center (TBIRC), explains, “Someone may be walking around with a brain injury, but because they don’t have any motor issues or physical injuries, you can’t tell. When they’re…speaking differently or behaving badly, people can’t see the injury, and so we are often judged as being poorly mannered or socially inept…or just slow.”
The Resource Center has determined that in Toledo, “15 or more people suffer a head trauma every day. Of these [15/day], about four require…hospitalization or die as a result of their injuries.” TBIRC estimates that “between 12,000 and 17,500 TBI survivors with ongoing issues live in the Toledo area.”
Jackie’s personal experience
Jackie sustained a TBI through a motor vehicle accident. Stopped behind a school bus when a texting teenager rammed into the cars behind her, Jackie’s vehicle was pushed under an SUV. Despite having four damaged vertebrae and a diffuse axonal injury (DAI, a type of brain injury), Jackie was misdiagnosed with a simple concussion. “I got zero help or services,” Jackie confesses. “There is little help for anyone (with a brain injury).”
Based on this lack of services, Jackie founded TBIRC which now provides education to TBI survivors, their caregivers, and those in the healthcare industry, while also connecting survivors/caregivers with helpful services and professionals. Jackie explains, “We are a center to promote independent living. We will have a full ADA-compliant kitchen in the next couple months…and we teach people how to feed their bodies and their mind.”
Inspired by yoga
For Kevin Pearce, a professional snowboarder and candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, that body/mind connection was imperative to his recovery after a life-changing TBI. Kevin’s brain injury resulted in several physical and mental limitations, including the need for glasses to correct his vision. Yet after his very first yoga class, Kevin discovered he was able to drive home without his glasses.
The power of yoga was so transformative for Kevin that he and his brother founded the LoveYourBrain Foundation, a nonprofit offering support to TBI survivors by providing affordable yoga and meditation classes.
Margaret Penn, local yoga teacher and owner of Yogaja Yoga at Cricket West and downtown, adds “Doctors often recommend yoga to their patients–for various reasons–and yoga is different from traditional rehabilitation exercises in that it is more whole-body focused. Yoga incorporates movement, which works both the brain and body, and includes meditation and breathing, both of which calm the nervous system and can help with healing.”
Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center, 7430 W. Central Ave,
419-214-0555 | tbirc.org
Yogaja Yoga, 3145 W. Central Ave. and 701 Madison Ave.
Love Your Brain loveyourbrain.com/yoga