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Traumatic brain injury

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This article and others in this series were produced as part of a project for the University of Southern California Center for Health Journalism’s National Fellowship, in conjunction with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
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Gabrielle Giffords’ resignation from Congress is a poignant reminder that for traumatic brain injury patients, the medical story doesn’t end when the media glare fades.

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It may be hard to connect well-paid and well-conditioned pro football players with the homeless guy elbow-deep in the trashcan on your sidewalk. But when it comes to brain injuries, they have more in common than you might think.

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In the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery, attention turns to traumatic brain injuries. Plus more from our Daily Briefing.

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Victims of traumatic brain injuries often fall through the cracks of the system of care in Virginia, particularly those with behavior problems. Injuries often cause problems like impulse control and anger issues. These victims often ping-pong from one facility to another because their behavior gets them thrown out. They need structured treatment but few long-term residential facilities that specialize in brain injury rehab take government insurance like Medicaid. This is a population that is growing because improvements in emergency medical care have saved more people who suffer brain injuries in accidents. Also, more military personnel are surviving traumatic brain injuries sustained in battle. People with severe mental problems, dementias and disabilities such as autism also sometimes have these behavior issues that make them difficult to place.

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