Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury

March is brain injury awareness month.

You don’t need any letters next to your name to understand that it only takes a second for the course of your life to change entirely.

Speech-Language Pathologists know first hand how devastating traumatic brain injuries can be.

This is a key area of intervention for us. TBIs can have a major impact on cognition, speech, language, hearing and swallowing.

Treating is one thing, but preventing it is another.

With TBI, it is as simple as falling off a ladder, slipping on ice, being hit by ball or as innocent as a child attempting to independently turn on the faucet and falling backwards on his head.

The list of potential disasters is enough to cause neurosis. But the variable that sticks out is luck… dumb luck. It is often dumb luck that creates these nightmares. Dumb luck you cannot plan for.

Dumb luck is not something we can control, but we consider it as a factor in our success or failure. This is not a resignation for putting effort into things that matter, nor is it surrendering to the unknown. It is simply recognizing that dumb luck plays a major role in the random events that impact our lives.

According to the CDC - Approximately 9 people are killed and 1,000 injured DAILY in the United States due to distracted driving.

According to the CDC - Approximately 9 people are killed and 1,000 injured DAILY in the United States due to distracted driving.

We don’t realize how much we gamble. Most of what we do is a gamble because we rely on the sheer randomness of countless variables to determine where we end up. We gamble and we rely on dumb luck to see us through.

Since we are gambling, we want to be lucky. There are things that contribute to our luck. Texting while driving (distracted driving) is one of those things.

What’s the difference between you and the person who just accidentally killed a man on a bike who had two young kids, a beautiful wife, a mortgage and throbbing heart with wants and dreams to see his family thrive?

What’s the difference between you and the person who just ran down an 8 year old boy at a cross walk?

What’s the difference between you and the person who just hit a teenager putting them into a vegetative state that they may never come out of?

If you text and drive, the only thing separating you is luck. That is the only variable.

90% of drivers think they are “above average” in their driving skills. 1 out of 3 driver’s texts while driving.

90% of drivers think they are “above average” in their driving skills. 1 out of 3 driver’s texts while driving.

You would be appalled to read the actual text messages that devastated these lives forever. Imagine ending a child’s life simply to say “LOL see u soon”.

If you truly understand how lucky you are, then you want to capitalize on it. This means not being reckless. This means not being stupid. This means not insulting the good fortune you have had.

We are always looking for ways to improve our lives. We want to help people. We want the best for the world. There is no simpler way to contribute than being alert and not driving distracted. It is the easiest choice you can make.

Good luck.

Note: I was inspired to write this after listening to @peterattia and @samharrisorg. I highly recommend you take the time to hear this outstanding conversation. It will make you a better (and more lucky) person.