(Resending in case my ask got eaten) I'm wanting to write a character who survives a gunshot to the head, but he develops a stutter because of it. Is this possible? What part of the brain would have to be hit for that to happen? Or is this more of a scriptshrink question?
Hey there nonny.
A stutter is likely to be the least of your character’s worries. Even if they survive a GSW to the head, they’re likely to have severe brain injuries because of it. What I’m saying is, a stutter is a consequence of this injury, but it should not be the only consequence. Y’feel?
These can include, but are in no way limited to:
- Personality changes (quick to anger, limited attention span, different reactions to situations/stimuli)
- Motor dysfunction
- Vision changes due to brain damage or damage to the optic nerve (or even the eyeball itself)
- Aphasia (having trouble finding words)
- Inability to read, if Broca’s area was damaged.
- Executive dysfunction (decision-making capacity is impaired)
- Short attention spans
- Memory loss (loss of long-term memories, difficulty forming new ones)
- Having to re-learn skills – both advanced (typing, driving, playing pool, calculating trajectories), and basic (walking, tying shoes, ….)
- Having to re-learn basic things (colors, etc.)
- They may have seizures, and these may be occasional and well-managed with medication, or may be frequent and unmanageable, or somewhere in the middle.
I’m sure that there are more features or complications that I’m missing. Your character will likely have spent significant time in rehab.
So yes… your character may stutter. That can be neurological or psychological, but it’s possible. They may also slur speech, or have some problems with moving parts of their face, or they may reach for words and never quite find the ones they want, or their attention may wander in the middle of their sentence.
A resource: brainline.org is a phenomenal resource about head injuries of all kinds.
If you want a really good reference for what a story about a post-GSW-to-head character looks like, watch a Harrison Ford movie called Regarding Henry. It’s a great story, although it does lean pretty heavily on Amnesia! as a driving portion of the plot.