A brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere and to anyone — and result in a lifetime of physical, cognitive and behavioral challenges. In fact, 1.7 million people (including 475,000 children) sustain a traumatic brain injury every year.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, but Dale Richard Mulder, CEO at Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital Clear Lake in Webster, Texas, is aware of these injuries all year long. He says, “Every brain injury is different. As such, we tailor therapy to suit the needs of the individual. Our physical, speech and occupational therapists work to retrain the brain and provide adaptive techniques and devices so the patient can regain independence.”

The Clear Lake facility is adept at customizing devices such as a personalized eating utensil or modified wheelchair as needed. Many therapists have also been trained in Neuro-Integrative Rehabilitation and Habilitation (NEURO-IFRAH®), a cutting edge, intensive program that focuses on the whole person to regain maximum functionality.

Staff members meet every week to discuss each patient. In his experience, Mulder says people want to hear the honest truth so they can develop realistic expectations for the future. Kindred therapists often educate family members who are traumatized by the fact that their loved one may never be the same.

Mulder says it is crucial to start therapy as soon as possible to attain the best results.  And while many brain injuries are a result of hard-to-avoid accidents, he offers a few words of wisdom to reduce the chances of a traumatic brain injury or stroke:

  • Wear helmets.
  • Take care of your health — high blood pressure, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation can be silent killers.
  • Be smart about alcohol and tobacco.
  • Don’t take drugs other than what is prescribed by a doctor.
  • Be attentive when driving.

Interested in reading more about the brain injury recovery process and Kindred's programs? Click here.