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Ankarlo brings awareness about Traumatic Brain Injuries

The underlying issue of what some people may have thought was a concussion could actually be a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.

Former KTAR host Darrell Ankarlo, who works with Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona talked with News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Bruce St. James about bringing awareness of TBI.

Ankarlo was involved in a car accident when another driver hit him three years ago.

“Our goal is to train people to stop using the word ‘concussion’,” said Ankarlo.

He said if someone has been injured in a traumatic way, their brain has been affected somehow.

“Your brain tries to fix itself, but at certain points it does not know it’s damage, especially early on. People did not realize how depressed I was.”

Ankarlo said that people with TBI can suffer with memory issues and speech issues.

“You become angry and you have fits of rage. I learned to work around it because I was causing major damage to my family.”

According to Ankarlo, 7 percent of Americans suffer from TBI.

“I know that I get anxious. I get frustrated very easily,” he said. “Now, you sit and you think about the frustration.”

The diagnosis part happens when people close to someone that may suffer from TBI start to see a change in that person.

Ankarlo said TBI symptoms are closely related to stroke symptoms. Early on, he had seizures and blacked out.

After people figure out they have a TBI, they can start to move forward.

“You can become functioning. You look through the process, you look through the therapy and things start to get better,” Ankarlo said. “You always have that Traumatic Brain Injury so it’s there, but you move past it.”