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Giffords Step-down Sheds Light on TBI Rehab


Gabrielle Giffords says “I will be back!”

Who can forget that awful day over a year ago when so many lives were changed forever. On January 8, 2011 at a community event in Tucson, Arizona, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of supporters of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Among the 18 wounded was Giffords, herself, who suffered a devastating shot to the head and was first assumed dead by many news media. Although she survived, Gabby (as she is fondly know by colleagues and constituents) sustained a severe brain injury, the effects of which are still apparent and will likely be felt for the rest of her life.

Last Sunday, Gabby announced that she will be stepping down from Congress in order to focus on her therapies. She has made miraculous progress in her rehabilitation but the reality of brain injury is that the brain, that amazing but delicate organ, needs time to heal.It can withstand many offenses but when a bullet traverses through some of the more crucial areas of higher level functioning, the question becomes more of a matter of “how much” than “how long it will take” a person will recover. In Gabby’s case she is doing phenomenal but there are misconceptions about the rehabilitation of brain injury, from the notion that one goes back to “normal” to “everyone recovers the same from the same type of injury.” Giffords is experiencing what millions of brain injured individuals have experience across the nation.

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