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Unpredictable Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries

By now, most of America has either seen footage of or heard something about Keith Scott, the 43-year-old African American who was shot by police in Charlotte, North Carolina last month. Who was at fault remains a hotly contested topic, and will likely continue to be for the unforeseen future. But one aspect of this tragedy should serve to highlight the unpredictable nature of some traumatic brain injuries.

Keith Scott TBI

In the video of the fatal police encounter released by the family's lawyer, Scott's wife, Rekeyia Scott, informed police on scene that her husband had a TBI. Days after the incident, Scott's mother, Vernita Scott Walker, further clarified the source of the injury. She explained in a TV interview that her son had been injured in a motorcycle accident last fall. In addition to his brain injury, Scott suffered a broken nose, two broken hips and a fractured pelvis.

Walker stated that the TBI caused her son to stutter and forget things. Former neighbors say they noted a change in his behavior and reported that Scott was taking as many as 16 different medications for his injuries. Others described slurred speech, short-term memory loss, and Scott's pattern of frequently entering into what they described as a "zoned-out" state.

These details about Scott are anecdotal, and at this time no medical records have been released to support these claims. However, they do coincide with the experiences of many people who suffer from TBI.

TBIs and Motor Vehicle Accidents

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has cited motor vehicle accidents as the number one cause of hospitalizations for people between 15 and 44. The CDC further explains that men had higher rates of hospitalizations for TBI than women between 2006 and 2010. Motor vehicle crashes are the number three overall cause of TBI among all age groups. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that cyclist fatalities in motorcycle accidents occur 26 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities, and the leading cause of death is TBI.

Consequences of TBIs

In the Scott case, many people have commented on the victim's refusal or inability to follow officers' commands. He was told repeatedly to get out of his car and to drop his weapon. Instead he remained in his car overlong, and when he exited, instead of putting his hands up, he backed away with them down by his sides. His actions seem puzzling on their face. However, if you look at some common symptoms of TBI, they may shed some light on the situation.

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Visual problems
  • Dizziness and loss of balance
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Depression

While the case of Keith Scott is an extreme example, TBI is often a severe condition with devastating consequences. If you or a loved one is suffering from this due to a New York City accident, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you get the assistance you need for a better outcome.

Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/22/us/keith-lamont-scott/, http://www.gastongazette.com/news/20160930/accident-report-keith-scott-wrecked-bike-month-after-restraining-order, http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.htm

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