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Returning to work with a traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries are amongst the most common accident injuries that occur in the workplace, in West Virginia and across the nation. This may be due to the fact that brain damage can happen to workers across any occupational field or industry. Brain injuries affect both employers and workers through decreased productivity, lost wages, rehabilitation, ongoing medical care, workers' compensation claims and possible long-term cognitive damage, according to the National Institutes of Health. People who are involved in a work-related slip-and-fall accident, are struck by a falling object or fall from heights are at risk of receiving an injury to the brain.

While a number of people recover from mild cases of TBI, employees who suffer from moderate to severe brain trauma may find it difficult to return to work. Depending on how severe the injury is, and what area of the brain is damaged, victims may suffer long-term cognitive damage and serious deficits that won't allow them to complete the same type of work that they did before the accident.

People may find it difficult to concentrate, organize tasks and/or focus on what they need to get done, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Furthermore, TBIs can result in serious seizure disorders and sensory deficits, which could cause problems with vision, hearing, speaking or even understanding language. Brain trauma may result in mood disorders, depression, anxiety, aggression or other mental conditions that could affect peoples' ability to work with others. Severe pain and muscle weakness can also affect employees.

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of brain trauma is key in minimizing the effects of a workplace brain injury.

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