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When You've Seen One Brain Injury, You Have Not Seen Them All

Break a bone and chances are that the doctor setting it for a cast has seen something like it before. Contract some sort of bug, and it’s just as likely the doctor knows what sort of treatment will get you over it.

The same cannot be said about a brain injury. Each one is unique. As the head of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri puts it, “Once you’ve seen one brain injury, you’ve seen one brain injury.” Recovery is not a sure thing and if recovery occurs, it can take months or even years.

Making sure that the victim of a brain injury has all the resources necessary is one of the goals experienced personal injury attorneys shoot for when they pursue claims on behalf of clients. If the injury was caused by the negligence of another, that person or their insurer should be held accountable. Seeking compensation is a right.

Whether that was an issue in the case of Richard Benkof, we do not know. But his story is one that inspires, so we share it with readers of this blog.

Benkof is 69. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Phyllis. Since the 1970s, he’s made his living as a photographer. Weddings, portraits, general events, you name it — he reportedly has captured it on his camera. But in June of 2012, all of that was thrown into jeopardy when Benkof suffered a brain injury.

He was riding a bike just a few blocks from home. To this day, no one really knows what happened, but doctors believe he might have swerved to avoid a van and wound up flying over the handlebars. He was not wearing a helmet and he hit his head.

In the first few weeks after the accident, confusion reigned. Benkoff says he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t walk or use his left arm. Most frustrating, he couldn’t focus his camera. After months of painful therapy, he returned home in December 2012. Eventually he learned to walk and talk again. And about six months ago, he found he could focus the camera.

So Benkof is back behind the lens once more and his wife says his pictures are better than ever. She says that’s because he is more thoughtful about the work.

He credits perseverance.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Injured photographer rediscovers how to make things click,” Colleen Schrappen, Feb. 27, 2014