Attorneys for the maritime worker
since 1970

How a “minor” brain injury can hurt your career

There is always the possibility of suffering an injury whenever a person spends time on a seafaring vessel of any kind. This is simply the nature of being out on the water, which can change from calm to rough and choppy very quickly.

One of the most common and poorly understood injuries a person may suffer while out on the water is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). These may occur any time a person receives a blow to the head, even if the experience does not cause a substantial amount of pain in the moment.

Unlike moderate or sever brain injuries, which can easily kill a victim, mild TBIs may cause a range of symptoms that may combine to destroy a victim’s professional and personal life if the injury is not properly diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

If you or someone you love recently received a blow to the head while on a boat of some kind, it is wise to obtain professional medical treatment as soon as possible. Your medical care provider can identify a mild TBI and help you understand your symptoms so that you can inform your colleagues and family that you have an injury that may affect your behavior.

Difficulties that a mild TBI can present in the workplace

Mild TBIs may manifest their symptoms in many different ways, and no two victims may experience the same combination or effects. However, some of the most common symptoms are quite destructive to personal and professional relationships because of the way they may alter the victim’s personality, cognitive abilities and abilities to deal with frustrating situations.

It is very common for a mild TBI to cloud a victim’s brain, making it much more difficult to think clearly and complete tasks. This often surprises victims, especially if they do not know they suffered a brain injury in the first place. Furthermore, victims often find that they respond negatively when confronted with the frustrations, often lashing out at others or at the source of the frustration.

To colleagues or family members who do not understand that the victim suffered a brain injury, this may appear like basic immature behavior, and may quickly endanger the strength of those relationships. In many cases, victims may even lose their jobs because of this behavior.

Another commonly disruptive symptom has to do with the way our brains understand and interpret the things we read or hear in conversation. While a victim may retain basic knowledge of the meaning of words, the injury makes it difficult to understand the larger context of a conversation or even a simple sign one might read while driving down the road.

This regularly leads to frustrating miscommunications around areas that most of us assume are already understood. Just as a foreign exchange student may have difficulty reconciling conversational understanding with vocabulary understanding, mild TBI victims often misunderstand the meanings of their communications with others.

Protect yourself as soon as you can

Be sure that you take action as soon as you can to prevent unnecessary conflicts while you recover from this very serious injury. You may have a long road to recovery ahead of you, and it is important to remember that you do not have to travel it alone.