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Oslo & all of Norway, would do well to consider blast-injury / TBI as well as trauma

Posted Jul 23 2011 11:40am

In the aftermath of the recent terrible events in Oslo, my thoughts go to the survivors of the city blast and camp shooting as well as their families. The blast that tore apart the government building in Oslo and the shooting that took more than 90 lives at a youth camp, are going to leave indelible marks on the Norwegian spirit, I’m sure.

One thing that I hope people pay attention to is the hidden effects of TBI in all of this. There was a massive blast in the city, which knocked out windows blocks away and also knocked people down. At the camp, people were injured just trying to escape the gunman disguised as a policeman.

Like the terrible events in Japan this past March, as well as the massive earthquake in Haiti, I suspect TBI is going to play a role in the aftermath. It’s probably not going to be well-understood, or even easily detected. People may think it’s the trauma that’s bothering people. But there’s more to it than psychological trauma.

TBI — even mild TBI — affects the brain in profound ways. New research is coming out that shows the mechanics of it , which is promising. Even without direct head impacts, blast waves may cause human brain injury , so it may be that people who were in the vicinity of the blast in Oslo could be affected. They may not fully appreciate how much and to what extent, but it could come to pass.

This is not to say that I wish it on anyone. Far from it. But even if there’s a slight chance of it happening, it’s worth mentioning so that people can read up on it and learn about blast injuries and TBI — as well as TBI that comes from smashing your head against a hard object while fleeing a gunman driven mad by fear and intolerance.

In the coming months and years, I suspect it’s not only going to be emotional trauma that sets people off — TBI could play a role, as well.

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