Will a brain injury lead to disability?

Oct 7, 2022 | Social Security Disability

There are many people who suffer brain injuries that completely heal. For instance, if you’ve ever seen a professional athlete get a concussion, this is a type of brain injury. In most cases, complete healing is possible, even though the individual may have mobility issues and cognitive issues at the time of the injury.

But, in other cases, brain injuries lead to life-altering changes. How does this happen and why can things be so different?

The severity of the injury

The first thing to consider is simply the severity of the brain injury. A concussion is nothing that you want to take lightly, but it is also not nearly as severe as something like a penetrating injury or a subdural hematoma. More severe brain injuries are less likely to completely heal, increasing the odds that you will be dealing with lifelong symptoms.

Lack of regeneration

It’s also important to understand that your brain, with a few minor exceptions, cannot regenerate any of the neural cells that die. Skin cells or red blood cells, for example, are constantly regenerating. Since brain cells don’t do this, it means that an injury that results in cell death may not be recoverable.

New neural pathways

When you do get some level of healing, it’s often when the brain finds a new neural pathway. Those cells may have been lost, but it can find a new link that can give you back the skills you had before the injury. This often happens when people go through rehabilitation, showing why you need to get proper medical care right away. It may be the only way to get the most possible healing.

If you do find out that your head injury is never going to completely heal and it will leave you with a disability, then it’s also important to understand your options to seek benefits through SSDI. This can be a complicated process and initial denials are common. That’s why it may help to work closely with an experienced legal team.