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“After the injury. After the rehabilitation. After the attention, and recovery, and return to the diamond and court, Matt Cook finally gets to take a breath, and just be a senior in high school.”

On March 30, 2007 a stray line drive ball struck Cook in the face while he was at batting practice. Cook incurred a brain injury called expressive aphasia, leaving him with symptoms similar to a stroke victim.

Two years later, he shows no signs of the traumatic brain injury he suffered. That is amazing considering after the accident he had no idea what year it was or where he lived. Matt has made an amazing recovery. Now a high school senior, he not only has an 88-mile-per-hour fastball, but he is back on the basketball court, holds a job at the local YMCA teaching soccer to 4- and 5-year olds, and was awarded a baseball scholarship to Northeastern University.

“The doctors thought he had a chance, but I don’t think anybody saw him coming back as far as he’s come back,” said his father.

It sounds like Matt was determined to play baseball, and he definitely is making that happen.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are usually the result of a sudden bump, blow, or jolt to the head, and can range from mild (known as a concussion) to severe, and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. It is similar to a collision in that the brain collides with the inside of the skull potentially causing bruising, nerve damage, and bleeding. Brain injuries can leave an individual severely debilitated and often result in fatality. The severity of the injuries – temporary concussion and headache to fatal – depends on the affected part of the brain.

Matt and his family know that he is very, very fortunate. Matt’s mother, Ann, admitted as much after her return from a brain injury fund raiser:

“Seeing all these patients, one 16-year-old girl who had a head injury seven years ago spoke, and she did a great job, but her speech is still impaired and she still goes through therapy,’’ she said. “So we know it could have been much worse.’’

The impact of a traumatic brain injury on a person and his or her family can be devastating. Change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social interaction. Individuals with severe injuries can be left in long-term unresponsive states. Long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence. These cases can have a significant financial impact on the victim and his family; this impact is felt in the form of signficant medical, hospital and rehabilitation bills. Disability of a breadwinner or having to leave a job to be a caretaker for a loved one can also cause significant financial stress.

If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury, you may or may not be able to pursue a claim in litigation. The unfortunate circumstances of Matt’s injury, for instance, are not necessarily suggestive of potential litigation. In contrast, striking one’s head in a car accident, slip & fall, bicycle, or construction accident could present circumstances that would enable a person to pursue litigation. It is important to consult with an attorney who specializes in these types of cases and injuries.

If a traumatic brain injury has resulted in serious financial consequences to you or your family and you are pursuing a lawsuit through an attorney, you may qualify for lawsuit funding. This is a service that would provide you and your family long or short term financial assistance, throughout the pendency of your case. Nobody can undo the physical, emotional and financial damage you and your family have suffered, but an experienced attorney and an experienced legal finance company can make a huge difference in your case.

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