Man Loses 46 Years of Memory After Suffering Head Injury in Slip and Fall

Through years of working with victims of traumatic brain injuries, our Illinois head injury attorneys have come to appreciate the unique, life-altering damage that these accidents can have on individuals and their families. Unlike some other forms of injury which often heal properly and without permanent impairment, brain injuries often affect the lives of victims forever. The suffering that so often comes with these accidents makes it imperative that all those in a position to prevent potential head injuries should take reasonable steps to do so.

For example, the severe yet unique consequence that can follow these accidents was clearly revealed by a new ABC News profile of a family dealing with the aftermath of one of these incidents. The victim in this case was a 46-year old former NFL player and aviation entrepreneur. Three years ago, while walking in his office to the bathroom, he slipped on wet cleaning oil. The man’s head landed hard against the floor after the impact. He was rushed to the hospital, but the damage was already done. It didn’t take long before his family realized that the injury had left him with severe memory problems. Essentially, the man had forgotten literally everything about the first 46 years of his life.

Doctors eventually diagnosed him with retrograde amnesia, which signifies the loss of memory of things before an injury. This is the opposite of anterograde amnesia which limits the victim’s ability to acquire permanent new memories after an accident. Our Illinois head injury attorneys know that both types of amnesia are rare, though possible for those who suffer any type of brain injury. Any time that oxygen is deprived to the brain, there are long-term, serious consequences. All forms of amnesia are somewhat mysterious, and medical professionals are still learning how it arises and what, if anything, can be done to treat it. Experts explain that in its “purest form,” retrograde amnesia can create “dense” memory loss in a patient who keeps their intelligence, reasoning, and language function. It occurs following damage to the patient’s temporal lobe or encephalitis.

The man in this case didn’t remember anything about his family, anything about his children, his wife, or his past career as a professional football player. However, he was able to understand written and spoken words, and he did retain some skills-like bike riding. His case is more severe than most, and doctors believe that it is permanent.

At first, the medical professionals thought that the slip and fall simply caused a concussion and that the memory loss was temporary. He was sent home from the hospital after three days. However, as his memory continued to deteriorate and he continued to feel disoriented, the victim went back to the doctor and had a brain scan performed. The scan discovered that the man had no blood flow to the right temporal lobe of his brain-the place where memory is stored. The family is working hard to piece their lives back together, but every day remains a struggle.

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