Brain injuries to be explored at program

November 7, 2011 | Events, UToday
By Staff

When your brain stops working in the old ways, do you become someone different? Who are you now?

The UT Disability Studies Program will tackle these questions during a program titled “Who Am I Now? Brain Injury and the Revised Self” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in Memorial Field House Room 2100.

There will be a screening of the documentary, “Brain Injury Dialogues,” followed by a panel discussion featuring brain injury survivors.

Brain injury is a common form of disability, but as the experience of many veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can attest, it is poorly understood, according to Dr. Jim Ferris, the Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, associate professor of communication and director of the Disability Studies Program.

“Brain Injury Dialogues,” which was selected for national broadcast by PBS, explores the lives of five brain injury survivors and shows their different ways of managing life with this disability.

Ferris said brain injury is often referred to as a “hidden disability” because the cognitive and other impacts may show no clear and obvious outward signs.

Rick Franklin, an 18-year survivor of a brain injury and co-director of the documentary, said, “Because brain injury is invisible, it often doesn’t get properly diagnosed.” Sometimes, he said, people think those who have sustained traumatic brain injuries “are faking it — or making things up.”

“In this documentary, we hear about the lives of survivors in their own voices,” documentary co-director Lyell Davies said. “We didn’t set out to make a medical documentary about this disability; we wanted to make sure survivors themselves are able to be heard.”

The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion featuring people living with brain injuries, including UT graduate student Douglas Kidd, who is in the Master of Liberal Studies Program.

For more information, contact the Disability Studies Program at 419.530.7244 or email

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