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Life and work after traumatic brain injury poses many challenges

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010



More than a million Americans suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury each year. Half of those injuries occur in car accidents, but an increasing number in wars overseas. The struggle to help people cope with these life-changing injuries continues.

(Photo: Jack Scanlan sustained a traumatic brain injury in a drunken driving accident.)

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When he awoke from a three-month long coma, Jack Scanlan had some very basic questions.

Scanlan: Where am I? What happened?

That was 27 years ago. Jack was sixteen then, and had sustained severe head injuries in a drunken driving accident. He had been an athlete playing high school football and baseball – and his competitive spirit helped him through the grueling rehab process.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/1673293[/vimeo]

Watch a TV show Jack produced about his life

Scanlan: I was trying to do better in each activity, to be the best that I could be.

Scanlan did relearn how to walk and talk, but his gait and his speech remain impaired.

Scanlan: I do feel held back from attaining my full potential and I do feel that there are many many more things that I can do.

Right now, he works in a sheltered workshop with other brain injury survivors. For someone with Scanlan’s high aspirations, it can be a frustrating place. Workers here do simple tasks such as putting together screws and washers, or stuffing envelopes. But Terry Hersch, director of employment services at Independence Hall Industries, says these jobs can be a lifeline for his employees:

Hersch: Could you imagine a life… now, you are a new person because of the head injury, you have all of these deficits and nothing to do. Here there is a challenge every day, I mean, it doesn’t look like a challenge because it’s a simple task, but it takes a lot of energy to make it through a day when you have a head injury.

Brain trauma can cause physical disabilities such as paralysis. It can also affect cognition and behavior. Timothy Young is medical director for brain injury at Philadelphia’s Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

The speed at which they can process information, their ability to filter out and focus on tasks, sometimes even their ability to control impulses, sometimes people with brain injuries are a little bit too honest, for their own good, and their employers’ good.

Young says life after these devastating injuries is about setting goals for survivors without overburdening them.

They want to go back to work. They want to drive again. They want to contribute in a positive way. That’s where their sense of identity is. But if somebody goes back too soon, without the proper modifications, we see a real decline in how they do.

In seeking career opportunities, Jack Scanlan has experienced many setbacks and new beginnings. He says he is ready for a bigger challenge. But when people hear how he speaks, they think he’s not capable of doing a job. This frustrates him to no end.

Scanlan: When I know very well that I would be a very good asset for a major company, in at least showing that a person with a disability can do what is needed.

Lane Brown, program director for the brain injury and stroke programs at Magee, says brain injuries are tricky because they can create a big gap between appearance and ability, which cuts two ways.

Brown: The person who looks completely intact may be having tremendous difficulty processing information, listening, understanding what they are hearing quickly. On the other hand, someone who has maybe some real disfluency in how they are speaking may not have any issues in understanding what’s being communicated.

Jack Scanlan is hoping to create his own opportunities. He is starting a non-profit organization lobbying for brain injury survivors, and connecting them with creative opportunities. He feels that many people are afraid of his disability – and that’s what he hopes to change.

Magee’s Lane Brown says educating the public about brain injuries will help people like Jack succeed.

Brown: Brain injury survivors are still capable of doing many things, and often it’s about adapting the environment to the survivor, and often it’s possible to do the work, if the environment can be supportive.

The stakes here are high. Over 25,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have sustained traumatic brain injuries – and will need the kind of support and opportunity that Jack Scanlan seeks.


73 Comments

  • SRose says:

    Tyler,

    I googled your name at random and this is the website that led me to you. I had no idea what had happened til now… I truly wish you the best in life because I know you had a great positive impact on mine… you were my first crush ever haha

    All the love and prayers in the world,

    your friend

    • Sunnie says:

      Hey Rose,
      Thanks for showing care and praying for my only brother. Everyone in our family is so thankful for all the support. Tyler, I hope you are doing well and I hope you’re able to get out every now and then. If you’re ever bored call me and I’ll take a weekend to come visit and hang out! You will have to call or text me personally though, so I get the OK to visit. Look my number up on facebook (Sunnie LaVigne). I love you and I’m always thinking about you!
      Hope to hear from you soon Ty!

      • Sunnie says:

        Tyler, I almost forgot!
        Make sure you have your mom turn the Superbowl on Sunday!
        PACKERS are finally in the Superbowl again!!! They are playing the Steelers. Your dad, mom, abbey and I will cheers to ya! call me to let me know what you think of the game if you decide to watch it!

  • Andrew says:

    I would like to know how many people with TBI actually succeed in driving again. I was in a auto accident 2 years ago and have not had a siezure for 6 months. Has anyone returned to driving and what were the problems in doing so?

    • Jack says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I have not had a licence since my accident. I could go back but, I just do not have the money for a car and insurance. People who have TBI’s sometimes do return to driving. You will have to discuss ….

  • tyler zelko says:

    hey susan, its tyler, what a bunch of bull. whats your email, mine is kzelko@tds.net, thanks. tell alysia, i miss her and having a fun life. all i do is sit down and be bored, im back in racine at my parents house. thanx.

    • Alysia says:

      Tyler- I sent you a message. I miss you and I love you- please ask your mom to let your friends and family see you- we all miss you so much

      • Krispen says:

        Alysia – you sound like your a obsessed and controlling B@@$% you need to leave him along and stop harassing him HIS MOM KNOWS BEST!!! How you are acting makes me think the accident is your fault and your bulls@@# is just helping your selfishness. you and Susan need to leave him along. you did enought to him and I hope whats goes around come around.

        • Alysia says:

          Dear Krispen,

          I will keep you in my prayers that you may also have a healthy recovery from your injury. May I suggest that pain comes in many forms, not just physical.. Therefore I hope that you experience only the joys of life with each new day, less the pain.

          The night of the accident, I was at home sleeping. Unfortunately, deeply hurting people blame me for something I had no control over, and thats ok, they need someone to be mad at.

          But this story has many missing pages. I will not judge for your perception of me because it is not my place. But also because you are right, what goes around always comes around, and someday… those missing pages will reappear, and this story will be complete. Until then, may God bless you.

    • kelly says:

      Tyler, what Alysia tells you is true. We haven’t seen you becase we were denied access from the beginning. You have made an amazing recovery so far and you will get your life back. We love you and miss you and we would never hurt you. We never have and never will. Look around you, do you see a card or letter from any of us? Why do you think that is? Think about it! You’re a grown man with a mind of your own. We love you.
      Kelly

    • tyler zelko says:

      ya know what,nevermind. i dont have a tbi. i have something much worse, i have a diffuse axonal injury.

    • kelly says:

      Well Tyler, It’s me again, still trying to talk to you without luck. Getting all of our cards back unopened (too bad, there’s $$) at least open them and use it (or tell mom to). We love you and miss you always….
      Kelly

  • James Diviney says:

    I had a traumatic brain injury jan 1st 2009, I got hit in the head with a blunt object, I was induced into a coma for 21 days, spent 4 months learning how to walk, talk, and take care of myself.. Of course im still learning how to apapt, but I really just want to know how i can help somone else who might be going through the same thing… I know i will never be one hundred percent but im alright with that. Is there anything i can do to help????

    • Hi James,
      It’s awesome that you want to give back to others! I would suggest contacting the state Brain Injury Association that you live in. Many of them have Peer Mentoring programs or Peer Mentoring needs such as answering calls from survivors looking for resources, information and support. You could help mentor someone through their challenges and issues.
      Best of Luck to you!
      Laura

    • Jack says:

      Thank you James,

      If you would like, you can go to my website and email me from there. That way we can see how we can help each other. http://www.jackwords.org

      Jack

    • tyler zelko says:

      hi, my name is tyler zelko and im 23 years old, i got a tbi like 6 months ago from an auto accident, i flew out the window like 135 ft., almost flew to the moon, but i landed on the road with my head, and im STILL in a wheelchair, at least im still beautiful, what did you do to recover, is there any surgery for tbi to help me walk.

      • Jack says:

        Hi Tyler,
        As far as the walking goes, being focused on you physical therapy and any thing you can do to put your mind on correcting your walking pattern would help. I do know from experience that it takes a long time. If you want you can go to my website and email me directly. I can help with what has been good for me.

        Jack

        • tyler zelko says:

          hey wuts up, this is tyler zelko. whats your email.

        • Susan says:

          Tyler, many of your friends, and Alysia would love to see you. We hope some day your mom will let you have visitors. They don’t know why they can’t contact you. Please know that you are greatly loved and missed by many people!!!! Our prayers are with you.

      • tyler zelko says:

        hello susan, i was just told that alysia wanted to help my dad to put me in a fricken nursing home, and lied to the hospital i was at to weasel her way in to see me. please dont try to contact me, now that i am aware of those phsycotic things, i dont wanna see or contact either of you, now. im extremely happy being home with my family, its A LOT better than a nursing home. this is coming from me, not my mom. F U.

        • Alysia says:

          Ty I was the one who got you to your grandmas house, ask your lawyer.I told your dad about your accident because your mom wasnt going to. I went to the hospital with your family to see you. Your mom didnt like that, did you kim? Because you wanted to be the one to “save” him. yet you are ruining him. You are NOT his only family Kim.

          By the way…your mom is the one who had to have a psych eval. DIDN’T YOU KIM!? not me.

          Ty I want to remind you of the last thing you EVER said to me…

          October 21st, 2009 at 2:05am
          “I really truly love you and its wonderful having you be my girlfriend, I couldn’t ever ask for a better girl or a better friend or a better person to ever know in my entire life, I love you, goodnight.”

          WHY WOULDNT I VISIT YOU IN THE HOSPITAL!? I WOUOLD HAVE BEEN STUPID NOT TO! infact, three days earlier your mom invited us to go to a pumpkin farm the next friday. funny how she went from that to hating me.

          Kim, nothing good will ever come out of your hatred towards me. I may never have the tyler back that i once knew, but i will always keep him in my heart and in my prayers.

        • Alysia says:

          Did your mom ever tell you that the first time you ever responded to a command was when I ASKED YOU TO SQUEEZE MY HAND AND YOU DID? The nurse didnt beleive me, so she held one hand and i the other and i asked you to squeeze both hands, and you did…that was the FIRST RESPONSE you had in a coma… YOU LOOKED AT ME. tyler you know the truth is just behind the lies..you are so smart, i just wish you could see all this the way everyone else does…

        • Alysia says:

          BY THE WAY!!!! your dad NEVER wanted you in a nursing home, but he thought it was the only way he could see you as much as he possibly could. He wants your family to be there, your friends. You have no one but your mom’s side right now, because she wont LET you have anyone else… and you cant fight it..like you always did…

        • kim zelko says:

          Alysia,

          Your stories truly amaze all of us. Please move on and leave us alone. Tyler started on this site to communicate with others in his situation not to be in touch with you. Unfortunately it seems you are obsessed with something that does not exist. Your lies prove the type of person you truly are and NONE of us wish to see you or communicate with you. Leave Tyler alone, you have done more than enough damage for a lifetime.

        • Krispen says:

          Hey tyler – hang in there always think possitive and lean on your family. Moms always love there kids then anyone else could. Make sure you keep bad out of your life. Best wishes from one tbi to another:)

      • tyler zelko says:

        wow, after reading that most people are in a dead sleep (coma) for maybe a month at the most, and in the hospital(hell) for only like a month! i was in a coma for like 4 months, and in hell(the hospital) for way too long! i guess my dai was a lot worse then i thought.

  • Kenneth says:

    I happened to find this website and immediately found a site with so many of the issues and everyday struggles other TBI individuals have. Keep up the great work. I will support this site the best I can. Thank you, Kenneth A.

    • Jack says:

      Thank you Kenneth, I like it when we can help get the attention on education with brain injury recovery out to the masses. Please, stay in contact.

      Jack

  • Zirk says:

    Hi Guys, Found this site whilst doing research for myself on TBI. I suffered a blow to the front left temporal lobe in an adventure related motor vehicle accident in Dec 2002. Just wanted to say hang in there, it will get better. It took me 6 years to feel a real difference. You have to believe in yourself and choose to make it better for yourself. I found that physical exercise helped a lot to deal with my frustrations and aided the recovery process.

    • Jack says:

      Hi Zirk,

      I am glad you left your comment. I have been saying things like physical and cognitive activities will help speed blood flow, helping with a greater recovery time. Please pass this site along to others it may help.

      Jack

    • Kenneth says:

      Jack, I believe what you have found out in physical and mental training to be absolutely true. In 2000 I was a victim of violent crime suffering a TBI, which required an emergency operation. My brain was damaged by a blunt force trauma and the solidified hematoma required removal. Long story short, I pulled through after 45 days in intensive care and years of rehab. In 2006 I conked my head getting into my car and suffered another bleed. This TBI was caught early, but again needed surgery. This time the doctors were able to use a burl-hole treatment to relive the excess blood in my brain cavity. I again pulled through and knew I need to do something more to help myself. I lost my privilege to drive and knew that a type of online study program could help me. I enrolled back to school with the University of Phoenix online program. I thought at 49 years young I could at least try and get my brain back into shape. The first few months were very hard, taking me hours to complete a simple assignment. But, I kept to the task. This past weekend I graduated with my Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management (BSB/M). I am back stronger than ever, I still have issues that I know I will have to live with for the rest of my life, but I am alive and now striving to attempt my Masters program in Education. I lift weights everyday, this includes free-weights and the Bow Flex apparatus. I walk and try and get in at least 18 holes of golf a week. I still at times feel frustrated, but I am not looking back. I will hope to complete a book; I have been working on by years end, on personal brain trauma and the mind over drugs. I praise all the doctors that have helped me, but understand doctors are just people; they do not have all the answers. Work hard on improving your mind and body, your spirit will follow. Keep up the good work, and determination is key in keeping yourself healthy.

      • Jack says:

        Thank you Kenneth, You are very right in saying you have to keep your mind active. I just set up a membership with MiND TV, and I will hopefully get some programs out. Please stay in contact

        Jack

  • Dear Jack, my daughter Hayley suffered a brain inuury on march 12 2008, She was 17 now she is 19. I couldn’t even comprehend this brain injury business, it is so complicated and so terribol… You see Hayley is the most beautifull little girl. she is still as smart as she always was. but has locked in syndrome. she hasn’t walked, talked, or eaten by herself since this happend. it was an intentional overdose on morphine. I have told James Burk all the details and that is how i came upon you . Hayley goes to school its a miracle but it is only me and her. everyone has abandon us and I don’t know how much longer we can survive… I know you don’t need to hear all this doom and gloom… what is a blessing is that I have struggled, and fought for her and have managed to have her in 4 rehab units in the past 2 years. we have learned to finger spell with broken spelling and only a handfull of prople can understand or make out what she is saying. Last year Hayley came up with a powerpoint presentation that we go around to schools in our state. And other organizations and present the story of her life. She is on The Wyoming attorney generals committee against prescription drug abuse. And her story is very moving and very touching. Although her physical state continues to rapidly deteriorate.. She fights everyday and she loves life, it was an accidental overdose experimenting with drugs. I am a single mom and had just started a new job in Colorado working 2 days when this happend. The boy who shared the drugs and who had been selling them was sentensed to 20 years in federal prison.. She only blames herself an not him. I am not so forgiving after learning about his family and how careless and idiodic his mom and brother and all of them are. I am sick of it all!!! anyway i loved hearing your story. And am proud of you for doing so much for people god bless you. Love Georgia and Hayley Castillo in Green River Wyoming…

  • James Burke says:

    Jack,

    You do articulate very well. I also have some articulation problems due to my TBI. Whenever I am talking in a larger group of people, or I have a lot to say, I tend to talk faster, and I lose some of my articulation. When I have a lot on my mind the reason that I talk faster, is because if I don’t say it right away, I will forget it do to my short term memory. Also when I am in groups, the conversation going back and forth, tends to make it hard to follow. When I have something to say, I always want to get it out before the conversation changes my thought, and I forget what I wanted to say. Do you have short term memory trouble from your TBI, and if so, how have you learned to compensate for your speech.

  • Raouf says:

    Jack,

    I am glad I checked out your website. It is very inspirational and I think what you are doing is great. Bringing awareness for TBI and the hazards of drinking and driving is so valuable. Keep up the good fight. God bless.

    Your old friend,
    Raouf

    • Jack says:

      Thank you very much Raouf,

      I hope you would be able to help us get the word out. You can send my site to anyone who you think might be interested or needs a wake up call. Take care Man and stay in contact.

      Jack

  • Marietta Warkentin says:

    Hi Jack,

    I found your site inadvertently. I am a older student(57) finishing my B.A. and starting an internship facilitating/teacher art classes for functioning brain injured adults at a local TBI support center.I have been seaching in vain for any information on what kind of classes/projects would be of use. Also we have very little in terms of supplies to use, waiting for some grant funding to come through. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jack says:

      Hi Marietta,

      I would like to speak with you some more. I myself am looking for funding but, if you go to my website you can shoot me an email and we can bounce some ideas off each other. Stay in contact.

      Thanks,

      Jack

    • Dear, Marietta
      My daughter was put in a sculpture class, seinior in high school. She couldnt even move her hands!!! But she turned it into a painting class and came up with ideas on smearing with a brush, she can barley use her hands and can’t even talk! then she asked w/her fingers to use a straw and blows on other colors, and uses her hands and feet to smear designes.. she did 6 or 7 paintins I mean these are abstract to say the least but we are proud none the less. lol.. School just ended for the year and she wants me to make copies of the paintins. They are large ones… I think she intends on selling or giving them as gifts. they are a treasure to us. Possibly you could see them.. As far as funding for supplies. the supplies were very inexpensive. hope youll reply.

    • Kenneth says:

      Hello Marietta, I understand your situation and applaud you in helping TBI adults. If you read my story above, you can sort of get the idea where I am coming from. I believe every case and individual is different and this is where it can be difficult creating a program for everyone. Some excellent tools and programs can be computer applications in various art, decoration, and even reading and math exercises. In my case having endured two TBI surgeries, I just did not want to be satisfied with being down, so with help of my loving wife of 35 years, I challenged myself to do better. Talk about frustration and depression? I just believe I could do it, and my wife believed. The doctors said, this is what I had to live with, and I knew they were wrong.

  • gina Kirk says:

    Enlightening. Thank you }

    • Jack says:

      Thank you very much Gina. I will like to speak with you more later. Please, pass this to other who might benifit.

      Jack

  • Phillip Semprini says:

    Back in ’99, a year after high school and college a drunk off duty officer drove through the front windshield of my vehicle.

    A week after my surgery since I was not showing any signs of improvement from the coma, the doctors suggested my parents move me into a nursing hospital to live. My parents told the doctors, “Give it time; it just takes time.” That they did and I awoke from the coma on day 19. Then I was to learn everything from birth to that day. I am still known at the hospital as the quietest patient in history.

    After I graduated out-patient therapy, I wanted to go back to school, to finish what I started. So I went back chose Human Services as my field of study and a couple years from then I recieved an Associates degree in the field. Now I am waiting for next Fall to start my Bachelors degree. Since then I was a teachers assistant in Special Education, and completed an internship at a Disable Workshop.

    Nothing will get better until you choose to make it better, and it just takes time.

    • Jack says:

      Hi Phillip,

      You are so right in saying it’s all up to you and what you choose. Of course things may slow us down, but in time we can achieve what we set our minds on doing. Thank you for sharing.

      Jack

  • Laura says:

    Hi Jack and Everyone,
    I found this article while doing an online search and have to say that I am inspired by the stories I have read here. I work for a company in NY that provides in home and community based rehab services to adults with brain injuries and would just like to mention that many states have a Traumatic Brain Injury Medicaid Waiver program that helps adults with brain injuries (and their families) learn how to cope with the effects of their injuries, rebuild skills and find new paths that bring meaning and purpose back into their lives. Typically this program is overseen by the Department of Health but some states may have it arranged some other way. State Brain Injury Associations may also be of help.
    Best wishes to you all!

  • HMCraig says:

    I sustained a brain injury a year ago. A lot of people have told me that they wouldn’t know that I am disabled. It’s a double edged knife.

    My art has been keeping me sane and happy. I create large floral paintings. I don’t think I would have chosen the subject matter or colors before … too bright, too bold. But now, they’re what my head wants. Beauty and color.

    I heartily suggest that everyone do some creative therapy (art, music, whatever). It’s very freeing.

    hmcraigart.com

    • Jack says:

      Hi Heather,

      I do feel that we are doing things along the same path. I am starting my non profit to offer different types of participation with the arts. Painting will, of course, be an art form I will include. I do feel that the work in the arts will help with brain injury conditions.

      Stay in contact,

      Jack Scanlan

  • Heather says:

    I suffered a TBI in a car crash in 1996. I was only in a coma for 2-3 weeks, and only in the hospital for about 2 months. I always felt things were off after I finally got home, and I finished with out-patient rehab. I didn’t have any support, and I was constantly told that I would be back to normal in no time. I finally went to a neuropsychologist in 2009, and she confirmed everything that I have complained about over the years. I have been at 23 places of work since 1997, and I am unemployed at the moment. I don’t have insurance because I can’t afford it, so I decided to look at clinical trials to see if any of them might help me since I suffer from anxiety & depression. The ones I found don’t accept healthy candidates, and I gathered that my accident happened too long ago although I still suffer from it daily.
    It helps me reading about other individuals who suffer from the same condition as me. Even though I’ve had a lot of jobs, I do have an A.A. degree and a B.A. degree, as well as a certificate of completion in therapeutic massage. My husband and I are moving back across country to Mississippi from Washington state at the end of this May. I’m hoping that the MS government will at least help me pay for my license to practice massage and the liability insurance that goes with it. It would be great if they would help me to obtain a job, too!
    I’m glad I finally found a place to read where others are experiencing what I’ve experienced and am still experiencing. I look normal, and people have told me that they would have never guessed that I was in such a horrible accident unless I had told them. I always tell them that it is a blessing and a curse.

    • Jack says:

      Thank you Heather,

      I would like to stay in contact with you and if you go to my website you can find my email. I might be able to point you to some good places. Too bad you won’t be coming to the PA area so we could meet face to face. Please, stay in contact.

      Jack

      • My daughter suffered serious brain injury March 12 2008 she is now 19 years old. she cant talk, walk. or feed herself. however she is very smart and has an amazing story to tell please contact us..We are in green river wyoming barley surviving.. her e-mail is Lynndrugprevention@live.com please reply…

  • Paige says:

    I am enjoying reading all your stories. I am currently tutoring a boy who is 24 who was in a car accident an has TBI. He is reading on a 3rd grade level and math on a 4th grade level. I am constantly trying to find high interest things to work with him on. He enjoys using the computer so I have been finding some websites for him to use. But I am in need of some ideas of things we can work on. Can anyone help me?

    • Jack says:

      Thank you Paige for your comment,

      As far as the man that you are involved, what helped me was keeping physically active. I do not know how much you would be able to incorporate that in to any lesson plans but, if possible, that should help to get his blood flowing more and hopefully help in his thinking processes. The physical activities might also be something that he was interested prior to the accident, so this my also may help to stimulate the growth in new synaptic pathways.

      • what if she can’t even move… but her brain is working fine. Its a nightmare i dont see how much longer we can go on. She can’t even move at all but is in therapy. please talk to us more ok..

        • Jack says:

          Hi Georgia, I am sorry I have not gotten back sooner. I am not an expert on how to deal with every situation. But, I do feel that if you challenge her mind and continue bringing her to the physical therapy this may stimulate other portions of the brain. I know it feels like it will be forever but, the more you challenge with new things, the recovery should move at a faster rate.

          Jack

        • James says:

          Hi Georgia,

          I was in a one month drug induced coma after extended hypothermia, and anoxia, 16 years ago. I also couldn’t walk or talk for about 4 months, following my coma. Jack is correct, that you should keep her mind active. How can you do this when, the person cannot even move, you are probably asking? Always talk to her as if she is awake, about things that are happening in your life, the news, etcetera. Also play her favorite music, movies, and television shows, in her room. She may try to respond. I did one day when my sister-in-law was telling me about a concert she had seen. I will reply to your email.

  • Genoveva Cortes says:

    I am a 47 year old trying to complete a social work career . I had a three car crash, using the cell phone while driving. I had a brain trauma but the hospital missed and sent me home two weeks latter I had a subdural hematoma . People frustrate me they are the walking expert book and they don’t know you I had a math teacher give up on me when he found out even though I was learning.

    • Jack says:

      Thank you Genoveva,

      We all need to get together and let the ‘non impaired’ what we need to move forward.

      Jack

    • Sunny says:

      It’s great to read other’s experiences. I had a fall of about 9 feet hitting my head with a deep cut towards the bottom of my head. My friend found me and said I needed to go to the hospital as the cut was bleeding quite badly but I just keep saying, “I have to go to work in the work in the morning.” The next day I couldn’t go to work but saw my doctor. He just stitched up my cutan said because I waited to get help he could only give a small number of stitched. He did not mention concussion at all.
      I began having problems coping with stress. I have a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work. I was making mistakes at work and asked for a 6 months leave. I was having emotional and behavior problems but never connected the fall for the changes.

      Five years later, I was in 2 car accidents within 1 year both my not my fault. I knew there was something drastically wrong but did not connect the car accidents. I couldn’t work any more. It was very difficult to get any help. I read on a website from a man that said if you have a brain injury – count on being your own caseworker – the most true statement I’ve heard since I was injured!

      • Jack says:

        Sunny thank you for sharing. You showed that any brain injury should be checked out as soon as possible. I am sorry that I am not as experience in delayed diagnosis rehabilitation, but one thing I feel may help would be an involvement in some art or an activity that stimulates thinking, I think there may be some government program that could help you.

  • Genoveva Cortes says:

    Hi, I had a brain trauma I am 47 years old / female was treated at the hospital and 2 hours later sent home. Two weeks later I was rushed to a trauma ICU for Brain surgery. I walked with a walker for balance. Today I’m trying go to school, I look normal but I have severe memory and emotional problems.

  • Pat Baker says:

    I suffered a brain injury after surgery. The program that I designed for families was then adapted for people suffering memory loss from brain injuries. It is an amazing tool that give peope back there independance back. People suffering from brain injuries are finding an very helpful and practical tool as I do. I found remembering the simplest tasks and staying on track to be the most diffficult for myself and especially my loved ones. They look at me and think that I look normal and I am an adult and can’t understand what is going on.

    The program is helping so many. You can view it at http://www.icandoitlifeskills.com

  • Joanne says:

    Maiken, I really appreciated this story on brain injury. It certainly raised some of the key issues someone faces and how it can also be misunderstood by society. I look forward to future programs that continue to educate others on this often hidden yet devastating disability.

  • Hi, my name is Larry.Driving while impaired by alcohol is the reason for my story. On 5/7/87 I was driving down a very secluded dark South Carolin road. Much later I was told to have had a .27 B.A.C. The only other passenger in the car had to have had a steep B.A.C. also. What occured on that s.c. road at about 2:30 a.m. on a Thurs. was a dog ran out in front of my 71 Chevelle. I steared the car to a ditch . The investigat-
    ors reported the very heavy car rolled over 3 or 4 times. My passenger was in the hospital in Columbia, S.C. for 3 day; spriened his back.
    I was ejected from the car and the car landed on top of me; I was told. I suffered a severe traumtic closed head injury ( bilateral temperal, frontal lobe damage), collapsed left lung, severed liver, ruptered splien. I had a few other things wrong with me if I could mention like; mutiple urinary tract infection. At the age of 21 when this occured to me , I was in a coma for a month and a half.

    I am 44 now. My wife and I have four children under 9 years of age. the youngest is 2.

    “I would like to thank everyone in ReMed that have helped me get this far”.

  • Carrie says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. My brother has a frontal lobe head injury that he received 10 years ago from a small engine plane crash. He is going threw a rough patch at the moment and Jack’s story reminded me that he is not alone-and my family is not alone. Every head injury effects the person differently and the laws and health and human service sector are ill prepared to support their individual needs.

    • Jack says:

      Thank you for sharing Carrie,

      I have had a very long road to get where I am now. I would like to at least help where I can and if you would like you can email me from my site. The best thing, I feel, is family/friend interaction. It will take time but, if you keep involving you brother, things show improve.

      • I don’t know if Hayley will ever get better. we can’t even seem to reach a small goal physically we just can’t go on much more… were you totally disabled too? how did you get started talking we don’t have much therapy in our little town.

        • Jack says:

          Well, I did not speak for a little after my coma. But, I always challenged myself. Now, I do not have a perfect speaking voice but I do over articulate to try for a smoother conversation.

        • lisa says:

          Hi Georgia:
          Keep talking to your daughter and playing her fav music. Also, her favorite foods…my son didnt really “respond” until I stuck a cheeseburger under his nose. He remembers everyone voice from when he was in his coma (2 months). Get her on Medicaid and start getting TP< SLT, get her out for therapy. Contact your state Brain injury website for contacts. The best thing for her is consistent care..ask where the closest TBI specialty hospital is. Usually, PT in a small town doesnt do much w/ TBI patients. If you have to move to get her care at a specialty hospital… move! Also, chechk for Support Goups around hospitals, for you…. youre in my prayers!

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