For those who follow my husband’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury know that we are no strangers to law enforcement being involved. Agitation caused from a TBI is real and can often escalate for what seems like no reason at all and put so many others at risk. I know this first hand, I have seen Adam’s brain injury cause Adam to become severely agitated and led him to put many citizens at risk unable to be redirected until being taken into involuntary custody by local law enforcement. We have seen law enforcement handle these situations both educated and uneducated in handling a TBI. My experience has been that even when officers are uneducated in a TBI when I mention it to the 911 controller and other responding officers about Adam's TBI, they do everything they can to work with the family. When placed in these situations it is the first thing out of my mouth. "Adam has a traumatic brain injury, history of confusion and agitation, and his brain injury is angry today. " It’s not an afterthought by any means but usually the first thing I mention.
Often people are discharged from the hospital or medical services after a brain injury and left with no resources and drained insurance funds and mounting medical dept. Left to figure out how to handle the responsibility of all the medical side, the changes in behavior, all while grieving and often feeling guilty for their grief because their loved one is still alive. We need the support of our community, we need others to help as we navigate the daily needs that overwhelm us and exhaust us. Often many in my situation are doing just enough to survive through the day.
Law enforcement officers are a huge support for Adam and often some of his greatest cheerleaders in his recovery. It takes a community to recover from such a significant injury and we as family members need to help educate our community. Each brain injury is different, Adam has the same diagnosis as millions of others, yet his looks so completely different than anyone else’s it’s the way that God designed us. So because I love Adam and I want him to continue to be successful in his recovery I have felt the responsibility to help educate our community on Adam’s injury and needs as well as traumatic brain injury at large.
Instead of judging law enforcement, help them by helping those in your local community who need support. In 2011 we built the Root for Adam Community Team partnering with local law enforcement, fire department, friends, family, our church, and even strangers. Our community team was started and today is currently in Fuquay-Varina, NC but we also had a temporary one in place as we were briefly in Washington State for a couple of years for medical purposes Educating our Root for Adam Community Team on Adam specifically and his needs all while introducing many of them to what a traumatic brain injury really is. Root for Adam both hosts events and attends events educating others on TBI. We get to know our law enforcement and fire department, EMS outside of an emergency situation so they know Adam at baseline but also are familiar with him on a personal level building trust with us as the family but also the confidence so that if I have to use their services in an emergency I know they are responding with Adam’s best interest because they know him or know of him.
Spending time in the community at events helps our community get to know us better and also it helps further aide in Adam’s recovery as we reintegrate into our local community. Reintegration into the community after a traumatic brain injury is often the most difficult and challenging aspect of recovery. Who in your neighborhood do you need to reach out to? Who do you need to get to know? I can guarantee there is someone in your own neighborhood who can use the help of your community, it might not be from a traumatic brain injury, but something else. Reach out, take initiative, get involved, be part of the community.
According to Merriam Webster a community is a unified body of individuals. Let’s be unified and not divide those who serve and protect us. Lets support our local law enforcement and do our part getting involved with those in our own neighborhoods who need our support. Partner with them as a community, I know for our family, this has made all the difference in the world.