Coweta County resident Lindsey Bush made such an impression on the Coweta County Commission in June that the commission in its subsequent meeting voted to proclaim July as “Brain Injury Awareness Month” in Coweta County.
The reason for the commission proclaiming July as “Brain Injury Awareness Month” was obvious to anyone who attended the June 5 meeting where 26 year-old Lindsey Bush, who suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a traffic accident 11 years ago, announced her intention to change the state and federal systems so that TBI individuals are recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her mission is no small task, but for Lindsey such an undertaking is right up her very determined alley.
Lindsey earlier in June gave commissioners a glimpse of what happened to her at age 15.
“I was in a coma for nine months. The right side of my body was paralyzed, including my vocal cords. My lungs collapsed, my ribs were broken, my pelvis was shattered, and my brain sheared internally along the pons, corpus callosum, medulla, cerebellum regions,” Bush said, describing her injuries. “I had no hope to live and if I did live, I would need to be put in a home.”
Along with her own obvious motivation, Lindsey received a wealth of daily rehabilitation that included, physical, occupational, speech and academic therapies. And the therapy milieu paid off.
“I graduated high school on time and with honors, graduated from college with a B.S. in Education with a major in speech language pathology and a minor in nursing. I have lived to tell the tale and have seen how citizens of the United States react to disabilities,” Lindsey said, noting her desire to continue her education and earn a masters degree.
Even a brief conversation with Lindsey Bush leaves the unmistakable impression that this woman will not be dissuaded, either by the wall blocking the continuation of her academic pursuits or by a much larger wall, a federal wall, that sidesteps those with TBI issues. And that is what brought Lindsey to the Coweta County Commission on June 5. And her compelling story is why the commission agreed to issue a letter of support agreeing that the federal government change the Americans with Disabilities Act to include TBI individuals.
“Soldiers are returning with TBI and post-traumatic Stress Disorder after fighting for our freedom and they do not receive the correct treatment or help. Instead, society shuns them and treats them as if they are a waste of space,” Lindsey explained. “TBI’s are becoming prevalent in the U.S., yet there is no mention of TBI in ADA or the Rehabilitation Act and there is no governing system in place explicitly protecting the civil rights and liberties of U.S. citizens with TBI. U.S. citizens do not recognize TBI because the damage occurs inside the brain.
Numerous agencies and organizations have been created to assist with this cause and still, nothing changes. Equal rights to individuals with brain injuries are not given at the local, state, or federal level.”
Listening to her speak and seeing the fire in her eyes, it is likely that people with TBI have an ambassador on their side who will not be silenced by any bureaucracy, regardless its size and scope.