Millions of people suffer from brain injuries every year in the United States. Whether they have been involved in an auto collision or were injured in a workplace accident, people may find it difficult to return to work and engage in daily life activities after suffering from a brain injury. The side effects of a brain injury may vary depending on the severity and which area of the brain was injured. Brain injuries can make it difficult to concentrate, plan, organize tasks and remember critical skills. Not to mention, injuries may affect a person’s sensory abilities, such as vision and hearing. Injuries can also cause physical deficiencies, including muscle weakness, dizziness and headaches.
In some cases, employers may attempt to accommodate an employee’s brain injury by enhancing their work environment. This is not possible, however, in some situations and so the employer may have to find another task for the employee to do. The employee may have to find another place of employment if they are no longer able to perform the same job.
Yet researchers have found that many people do not return to work at all after suffering a brain injury. A study conducted by Whiteneck and colleagues found that one-year post-injury, as many as 50 percent of participants in the study had not returned to work. Approximately 20 percent of these people were unemployed. Some had been fired from their jobs and some employers were unwilling to make accommodations for injured employees. It is important for employer and employees to work together to help those with brain damage lead productive lives following an injury.