July 2, 2019

When I was invited to write an article on my professional and personal experience with traumatic brain injury, I had no idea what I was getting into. Regardless, the purpose of this article is to convey to my colleagues not only what I experienced, but also what many of my patients experience following a traumatic brain injury. First, I want to make it clear that it is estimated that 80% of all individuals who have a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or concussion will completely recover. Second, the 20% who do not often are misdiagnosed or ‘‘miss diagnosis.’’ Third, in those cases where a brain injury was serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room and a concussion was diagnosed, the symptoms of postconcussive syndrome can take from months to years to fully present. Therefore, the delayed presentation of postconcussive symptoms contributes to the failure of a MTBI diagnosis and efficacious treatment. However, there is an obvious pattern of pathology in MTBI that medical and mental health professionals should be prepared to recognize. To best demonstrate this pattern, I will tell you the story of my concussion and present two recent cases that eluded detection for years.

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