Episode #46: An inside look at traumatic brain injury, or “TBI,” and how these injuries influence mental health. People of all ages get them in a variety of ways—from sports injuries, to car accidents, to domestic falls and many of these individuals develop mental health symptoms that can last for months or even years. This show was recorded in Santa Cruz, California, one of the surfing capitals of the country and while mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions are common in many sports, head injuries are the most common injury among surfers, comprising one-fourth of the total. Children and youths are particularly susceptible and those who sustain even a mild brain injury (often referred to as a concussion), have a 40% increased risk of developing mental health symptoms. Because these issues can appear many months after the injury, doctors and care providers need to pay particular attention to the mental state of patients long after a traumatic brain injury of any severity. Our guest and author JoAnne Jones talks about her recovery from a severe traumatic brain injury that occurred when she was assaulted and robbed. Also with us is rehabilitation and physical medicine specialist Dr. Jennifer Yu who shares information about the mental health symptoms, treatment approaches, and recovery strategies associated with mild to severe traumatic brain injuries.
Broadcast: 9/4/22 & 9/13/22
Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, Jennifer Young for underwriting outreach, Lisa Herendeen for research, Leslie Nielsen for “In Your Voice” Coordination and Izzy Weisz for marketing. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.
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* Indicates Santa Cruz Local
Organizations & Websites
Brain Injury Association of California – The Brain Injury Association collectively provides various resources for TBI survivors, caregivers, and professionals. This is the link to the California branch.
The Centre for Neuro Skills — In Emeryville, CA has many comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Brain Injury of America – National organization providing various resources for TBI survivors, caregivers, and professionals.
One Hit Away Foundation — Offers resources for healing and preventing sports-related brain injuries caused by a concussion, sub-concussive hits or a Traumatic Brain Injury. This Documentary shares the real-life stories from the surfing community about their relationship with OneHitAway Foundation. The power of being introduced to brain healing / brain health options is changing the way the surfing community views their current and long-term health.
Local Santa Cruz Treatment
Dominican Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Center * — The primary provider of neurological rehabilitative therapy in Santa Cruz.
The Stroke Center at Cabrillo College * –Serves adults with acquired disabilities including, but not limited to, TBI.
JoAnne’s Recommended Resources
Yoga. I take classes two days a week. The formal structure and direction is essential. I also try to do yoga poses throughout the day to stay aware of my posture, abdominal muscles and breathing.
Mindful meditation for stress reduction, the model pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn
When Covid 19 allows more indoor programming, check out London Nelson Community Center / Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Classes *
Regular exercise: As I age, I don’t run as much or lift heavy weights or do as many push-up or mountain climbs. I do walk a few miles each day, try to spend as much, or more time, standing and doing things as I so sitting, and walk my dog or take her to the beach every day
Rest. TBI and PTSD exact an energy toll. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I need to rest each day, in a quiet space.
Books & Articles
Headstrong: Surviving a traumatic brain injury — by JoAnne Joans. SheWritesPress (2019). Headstrong tells the story of how she learned to live with the daily challenges of TBI. Also available at Bookshop Santa Cruz.
Over My Head: A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out —by Claudia Osborn. Andrews McMeel Publishing. (1997). Locked inside a brain-injured head looking out at a challenging world is the premise of this extraordinary autobiography.
Aftermath: Violence and the remaking of the self — by Susan J. Brison, Princeton University Press. (2002). A personal narrative of recovery and an illuminating philosophical exploration of trauma.
Big thrills, dangerous spills: Local nonprofits provide treatment options for surfers who suffer brain injuries — by Jim Seimas | Santa Cruz Sentinel. PUBLISHED: February 13, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. | UPDATED: February 16, 2021 at 10:37 a.m.
Mental Health Disorders Common Following Mild Head Injury — NIH-funded study identifies risk factors for neuropsychiatric conditions after concussion. NIH News Release / January 30, 2019.
Del Mar Caregiver Support *— A Program of Health Projects Center, dedicates their attention and service to caregivers, advocating for public recognition of their worth and value to society while providing low- or no-cost consultations, education, support groups, and respite to caregivers in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties.
Family Caregivers Alliance — Provides services to family caregivers of adults with physical and cognitive impairments, such as Parkinson’s, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Services include assessment, care planning, direct care skills, wellness programs, respite services, and legal/financial consultation vouchers. Ongoing support available with FCA, also now on a digital service platform. FCA is a longtime advocate for caregivers in the areas of policy, health and social system development, research, and public awareness, on the state, national and international levels. Offers support groups, classes, resources and events for caregivers and the people who receive their care.
AARP Resources to Help Caregivers — A rich source of educational articles and information to help support caregivers.
The National Alliance for Caregiving — An organization dedicated to improving quality of life for friend and family caregivers and those in their care, by advancing research, advocacy, and innovation. Provides research, advocacy and information on resources on caregiving.