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There are many wonderful and heartwarming success stories relating to brain injuries. Below are links to just a few:
The former elementary school teacher and corporate executive suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury during a 1998 car crash. She was left unable to work because of chronic pain and memory loss, and struggled to heal physically and emotionally. Read more about Ann hitting rock bottom and her steadfast determination to overcome the obstacles in her new life.
Ann was awarded one of the eleven 2011 Community Service Awards from WXIA 11-Alive for creating, developing, and implementing the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association®. Watch a YouTube video about Ann and our association.
A brain injury survivor and a valued Peer Visitor for the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association. His car accident occurred in May, 1993. He was in a coma for 40 days. He then went to Inpatient Rehabilitation until August 5, 1993, and Outpatient Rehabilitation for 4 months, and then was released December 24, 1993. He returned to work in 1994. In 1995, he returned to college where he graduated with a BS Psychology degree in 1999. Mike is a certified Occupational Therapy Aide and a certified Brain Injury Specialist. Mike is LIVING PROOF that rehabilitation WORKS, and he's living proof that all of the compensatory strategies that Mike practices and teaches DO WORK.
Q: Do you need help with doing your daily activities?
Q: Do you need help living each day?
Learn how to regain your independence and take care of yourself. Read more about Mike and his rehabilitation services.
Steve sustained a brain stem injury on the basketball court at the age of 27. He was born in Chicago, and was a Triathlete previous to his injury. Steve has a passion for life. He is an active member of The Seminole Spirit Support Group. He also swims and works out at the YMCA every week. Read his story and watch his video.
Linda is a TBI survivor. Her accident happened in 2006 when she became "Mina Kitty." As part of her recovery process, Linda went onto the Web for information about brain injury. She has created a website with a simple format with access to clearly presented information. Linda says, "My goal is to educate others about brain injury, provide resources, and promote good brain health." Read Linda's own story and visit her website, The Brain Fairy.
Kathleen S. Bartl
Kathleen Bartl tells the story of how her poor decision-making to ask her "beautiful thoroughbred to jump a more than reasonable jump" – changed the outcome of her life. Kathleen had "severe damage to her brain stem and to most other brain sections due to the shearing that took place on impact" of falling from her horse. She tells her remarkable story or rehabilitation and recovery in her memoir book, THE FALL – A MEMOIR – TBI – From Injury to Recovery Outside the Box. Click here to read part of her story.
Emily is a survivor of what was called a "fatal car wreck" – but she survived. Emily is so thankful for her car wreck: "I have this new life to live." Read more of Emily's story!
Joey Buchanan is a true HERO in today's world. After Joey extinguished a housefire, a 50 lb. load of sheetrock fell from a vaulted ceiling over 8 feet high and struck him on his head. From that day forward, Joey's life would be changed forever – from his "mild brain injury" sustained that fateful day. Read a few paragraphs in Joey's own words as he explains, "So that others . . . may understand."
A young mother of twins had horrible headaches – not just exhaustion from caring for twins, but a CT Scan showed a dark area in her brain. The story goes on from here. After 3 brain surgeries, Trina survived to tell this wonderful story – and to help others by running three different groups that support brain injury survivors and their caregivers and loved ones.
Michael Coss is the survivor of a car wreck back in 2006. He will tell you that his life was changed forever, and it's been changed for the good. Michael is also the 2012 Recipient of The Courage to Come Back Award. Michael's desire is that his remarkable story and this inspirational YouTube video will serve as much-needed hope for other TBI survivors and their loved ones. He has also written a book, The Courage to Come Back: Triumph Over TBI – A Story of Hope, as an inspiration to other brain injury survivors and also to their family members, and to also let the general public know about the benefits of hyperbaric chambers.
On January 31, 2002, I was shot 7 times – four times to the head and three to the body. I was left for dead, lying alone for two days bleeding to death; then God sent an angel that found me. My recovery was difficult; many people thought I wouldn't make it. I wanted to give up. I thought my mountain was too high to overcome. Then God spoke to me and said, "I spared your life for a reason." I then understood my mission was to spread my testimony to encourage other brain injury patients as well as gunshot victims through organizations like the BRAIN INJURY PEER VISITOR ASSOCIATION and VICTIMS OF CRIME. To hear more concerning my remarkable recovery, tune in to my YouTube page, Saints Keeping it Real.
Read Randy's amazing story. He was shot twice in the head when only a Junior in high school. He went on to finish a law degree, he worked in law enforcement for over 10 years, he became an Army reservist, he even scaled Pike's Peak twice! Please read on . . . Randy is a true inspiration.
My name is Bill DeAngelo, and I am a brain-injury survivor. Before my head injury (due to a bike fall) I had natural tennis ability – I was able to hit with professionals and college players. Through determination and sticking to the principle of improvement, I have overcome double vision, complete loss of eye-hand coordination (e.g., missing a simple ball), balance problems so poor that the court felt as if I was on a boat, and a total lack of focus in terms of construction of points (e.g., I wouldn't remember what I was doing after I hit the ball). This has improved to a point of attaining an extremely high level of play. Although my high-level competitive focus is still not at 100% due to the ongoing challenges of my brain injury, my primary focus is not competitive tennis. I am directed to passing on my skills through Good Neighbor Tennis Outreach to adults and children for both competitive and recreational tennis with certain types of brain injury and disabilities. This leads to learning in recovery while having fun! In the end, the effort you make is equal to the functionality you'll get! Please visit my website or call me at (770) 650-9609.
I also have a support group called the Brain Injury Tele-Conference Support Group with sessions held twice monthly on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. We can help with coping strategies for those who aren't able to travel to or have the means to reach onsite groups.
Twenty years ago Tammi was crossing the street and was hit by a car – injured both bodily and in her brain. Read how she is celebrating her life and the anniversary of her accident. ("I am no longer angry." "A person's life does not have to end just because they are disabled.")
Melissa is a former Shepherd Center brain injury patient. She was in a serious head-on collision on her way to church. Read Melissa's amazing story in Shepherd's Spinal Column, Return to Practicing Dentistry (PDF), about her determination and hard work in rehabilitation which enabled her to return to her practice as a dentist.
Bryan was in a serious car wreck – a head-on collision with a drunk driver – in 1979 when he was only 19 years old, and his whole world was turned upside-down. He spent five weeks in a coma with a severe brain stem injury, and his left side was paralyzed. Years ago, brain injuries were not as well-understood or treated as aggressively as they are today. Bryan received basic physical and occupational therapy but very little help otherwise while recovering from his brain injury. Beating the odds, Bryan went on to get a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and had a successful career in computer programming. He continues to work now in various other capacities. Bryan is also an avid volunteer as a Peer Visitor at Shepherd Center's Acquired Brain Injury Unit, Shepherd Center's Neurospecialty Unit, Shepherd Pathways, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Acute Inpatient, and Northeast Georgia Medical Center's Outpatient Regain program. He does a phenomenal job as the webmaster for the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association. Check out Bryan's personal Survivor Story and read his mom's progress notes throughout Bryan's six weeks in the hospital.
Chris is a great Brain Injury Peer Visitor in Naples, Florida at Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation. He is a living example of hope to other brain injury survivors that "you can make it." He is also successfully working part time at Home Depot. Chris had an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) in his brain. Read about Chris's diagnoses in the beginning from a family member, Nadine.
Randal is a brain injury survivor of 27 years from an auto accident. His life drastically changed on that day. He says that living with a brain injury is "like living with an unforgiving enemy that requires and demands that you be its constant and forever companion." Read his survivor story, and buy his book, The Stanger Inside of Me.
Richard is a motorcycle accident survivor who is giving back to others by being a Brain Injury Peer Visitor. Read Richard's story, including having his belief system changed from non-believing to a recognition of God's role in our lives.
TJ Glavin is the Action Sports Star/Host of The Challenge. This video shows TJ performing a stunt on his bike – and then crashing, incurring extreme brain trauma. TJ encourages all brain-injured and all disabled individuals to recognize the disability, respect the ability, and imagine the possibility
Geo was in a serious bicycle accident when he was 25 years old. Geo's experiences led him to write two books, TBI Hell and TBI Purgatory. In Geo's own words, "These books are in no way medical. They are not Rah! Rah! Work hard and everything will be fine! They are just me telling about all of the trials and tribulations that I have had to – and continue to – endure as a result of having an injured brain." Read Geo's story and click the links above to read about and buy Geo's two TBI books.
DuWayne, a mental health worker in a hospital Psych ward, was an avid motorcycle rider who one day had to lay down his bike to avoid a car that pulled out in front of him. He incurred massive injuries, both external and internal, and required years of therapy. Having to relearn how to perform everyday tasks and basically how to live again, ten years later he slipped and broke his neck. Eighteen years into his disability, he was hit by a truck when walking across a street. Read DuWayne's personal account of how his life has completely changed and how every day is a challenge for him as a TBI survivor.
A brain-injury survivor who fell from the roof of his screened-in porch May 1, 1999. Mark is a Peer Visitor for the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association and is also the originator and leader of a extremely active brain injury support group called The Seminole Spirit. Mark started his group in January 2005 with his Speech Pathologist, Katherine T. Peyton. The Seminole Spirit is a language brain injury self-help group that works with people with aphasia. This group meets bimonthly on Fridays at Northbrook United Methodist Church's Scout House at 50 Houze Way in Roswell, Georgia. Call Mark at (404) 434-7452 for more information. Read The Seminole Spirit's mission statement and the schedule of meetings.
Mark also tells his story about his wonderful spouse and marriage in Stay the Course, the M&M Way.
Watch and hear Neurosurgeon Dr. David Miller, who saved Mark's life and saved the life of another Peer Visitor on our team, Bill Peet.
Eileen, at age 20, was driving home from college when she was in a horrible car wreck that almost took her life. After numerous surgeries and lots of therapy, she is now a Brain Injury Peer Visitor at several hospitals, encouraging other brain injury survivors with her big smile, wit, and positive attitude. Read her story as told by her mom, Sue.
A brain-injury survivor who was in a head-on collision. His parents were told to put Scotty in a nursing home. Read in Scotty's own words about his incredible recovery. Read his mom Wynell's story, and read about Wynell's book, Why Scotty?
In 2007, Julie Jarman had a brain hemorrage In Canberra, Australia. She was in intensive care for 5 weeks, then a rehab facility for over 4 months. Read her account of her injury and her success.
Listening to the doctors and counselors in the brain-injured community sometimes has you wondering if recovery can ever take place. Well, read this wonderful recovery story about 14-year-old Jessica Jones recovering completely from a severe Traumatic Brain Injury resulting from a fall off a retaining wall.
Lisa Paige Kline
After years of battling headaches this young woman was partying one night, fell down, and couldn't get up. What everyone thought was just too much to drink turned out to be an aneurysm. Read Lisa's inspiring story, My Life After an Aneurysm.
On August 16th, 2009, Michael got a headache which he ignored at first. Throughout the next couple of days things went from bad to worse, and he found out at Emory Hospital he had a cavernous malformation in his basal ganglia. He never knew anything about it until it suddenly ruptured and resulted in a very slow version of a stroke. He has had an incredible recovery and is back at Kennesaw State University where he is a Junior majoring in Mathematics. His brain injury gave him a deep appreciation for life, and he would not have recovered as well as he did if he had not been optimistic. Michael's advice? Just keep a positive attitude always. His favorite quote is "Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be." – Eleanor Roosevelt. Read Michael's full story here.
Sylvia Lawing is a survivor of a traumatic brain injury resulting from a serious car crash in 2008. Sylvia believes that "the secret to survival is to realize that a loss is sometimes a new beginning." She has created several blogs to help others. Read on.
Neil Ligon is a Brain Injury Peer Visitor at Shepherd Center and Grady. He won the 2012 Triumph Award, awarded by Walton Rehabilitation Health System during National Rehabilitation Week in September 2012. Neil is also an author of the book, The Detours (click to purchase), the story of his recovery after his brain injury. As stated by Deeds Publishing: "The Detours is a story of a man who, after surviving a severe traumatic brain injury, set out to rediscover who he once was and who he wanted to become. Neil states: I suffered a traumatic brain injury that August day, and the months of hospitals and rehabilitation that followed were just the beginning of my fight."
An artist, Allen suffered severe damage a decade ago when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. What he went through shaped his goal in life to help others learn and develop their skills as artists. Read more about Allen's inspiring life.
Anne Margaret McKenzie
"It was a cycling accident, out of the blue, unpredictable, and like most events that bring trauma to the brain, not something I'd ever expect would happen to me. Unseen and unimaginable, Traumatic Brain Injury is an injury to the hidden and most essential part of yourself, a crippling injury which can compromise every aspect of your life, a triple whammy of cognitive, functional, and behavioural problems, and the fallout which hits you where it hurts – in your identity, your career and social performance, in your parenting skills, in your exercise program, your sense of self worth, and in the map you thought you had painted of your life."
Anne lives in New Zealand. She tells us her story and has written a wonderful book: The Brillance and the MADNESS – Letting Brain Injury Out of the Closet.
"In April 2008 Randy experienced a traumatic motorcycle accident that changed his life. It made him realize he had been given a new chance in life, and reaffirmed for him the importance of family. A near-death experience while in the hospital made him realize his life had purpose, and as a result, he is now sharing his message . . ."
Go to Randy's website at www.beatingadversity.com to read more about Randy and to read about his book: Beating Adversity – A Blueprint for Success in Life.
Michael Ward Morrissey
Michael was going to a Halloween costume party. He stepped out of the taxi, proceeded to walk across the street, and was struck by a speeding SUV. This was "the day his life changed forever." Read more about Michael and how he is thankful to everyone who helped him overcome his struggles.
Have you ever experienced a situation where you knew something was wrong, but it wasn't obvious enough to know that it was a very serious situation immediately? Have you had to face a brain surgery with the uncertainty of what the results would be? Are you post-serious brain injury and now on the road of healing and adapting that seems endless and uncertain? Perhaps my brain injury story can be helpful to you in some way.
Currently on the Peer Visiting team at the Shepherd Center and Shepherd Pathways, RoseAnn drowned while snorkeling in 2006. She is a wife and mom of 2 children. Read more about RoseAnn's remarkable steps to recovery on her CaringBridge page.
Kevin was a champion snowboarder who was about to enter the Winter Olympics. He was training when his snowboard caught on the ice and his head was slammed into it when he fell (he was wearing a helmet that saved his life) – but he says his life is 360 degrees different now than before. He calls his TBI his Invisible Disability. Check out his YouTube video in which he points out aftereffects many TBI Survivors share. Also watch a very well done Australian HD story about Kevin.
Until July 6, 2011, Will Penn was just like any other 8-year-old boy. What he didn't know – no one knew – was that he was born with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). On July 6, the AVM ignited a massive brain hemorrage and stroke in Will's body. Read Dana O'Neil of ESPN.com's story about Will and his family and how Cory Weissman was an inspiration.
In his own words, Craig J. Phillips is "a traumatic brain injury survivor, a master's level rehabilitation counselor, an educator, and a motivational/inspirational speaker with a message of hope." Craig's traumatic brain injury occurred in 1967, when he was 10 years old. He underwent brain surgery. "Rehabilitation did not exist in 1967 for brain injury, thus he had to teach himself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences." His very informative website is Second Chance to Live, and his story is on the My About Page.
Diane is currently on our Peer Visiting team at the Shepherd Center; she was in a horrendous car wreck 5 years ago and has had over 35 surgeries. Diane is a wife and mother of 2 children, and she has authored a book on brain injury, Head Lights For Dark Roads: Packing Humor and Hope for the Unexpected Trip Through Traumatic Brain Injury.
On April 4, 2006, at the age of 23, Saul crashed in a professional bicycle race. He fell into a coma, sustaining substantial bodily damage and a traumatic brain injury. His outlook was bleak. Medical professionals did not know if he would survive, and if he did, what kind of life he would lead. Read more about Saul's remarkable comeback and mission in life, the Raisin' Hope Foundation.
Julianna Ramos (Chris Medina's fiancée)
Listen to the beautiful song – "What Are Words," written by American Idol contestant Chris Medina for his fiancée, Juliana Ramos, who was in a bad motorcycle crash. Chris shared her story when he sang on the television program.
On Thursday April 9, 2009, Derek was involved in a near-fatal car crash while driving his mom's SUV. Read more about Derek on his CaringBridge page.
David was injured in a motorcycle accident when he was only 17 years old. He was not expected to live nor recover. His mom, Deanna, has written David's story in the book Reconstructing David. Read David's own story where he looks back at his life, 25 years after his accident. He also has insightful comments about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' recovery and the media's failure to truthfully portray brain injury and its real effects.
Jamie Scrubas, 48, experienced a stroke the summer of 2014. He had to relearn to think, speak clearly, walk, and use his arm & leg. Jamie was engaged to be married to Tami Florio when his stroke occurred. In 2015, Tami is becoming a caregiver Brain Injury Peer Visitor at Shepherd with the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association. Read about Jamie and Tami and their wedding in the Shepherd Center's Secret Garden. Also, watch an 11 Alive TV video about their heartwarming story.
At a picnic, Mark's wife, Sherri, noticed that he stopped talking, was sweating, and was slumped to one side. She immediately realized that her husband was having a stroke. Fortunately, he was rushed to a hospital where he was given tPA, a blood clot-busting drug, and transferred to Piedmont Hospital. He had an occluded artery that was blocked by the blood clot. Thanks to the entire stroke team at Piedmont Hospital, he made a remarkable recovery in the next few days. Read the article about Mark (PDF) that appeared in the Winter 2010-11 edition of Piedmont Profiles. Ann Boriskie, Director of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Program, had the privilege to Peer Visit both Mark and Sheri when Mark was a patient in Piedmont's Neurosciences Unit.
Leanne Shaw and her mother, Linda, are both Brain Injury Peer Visitors at Children's Healthcare Atlanta (CHOA) at Scottish Rite for the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association. Leanne says that she owes her recovery to the great care she received ad CHOA. Read her story and see her Before and After photos.
Wednesday morning May 14th, 2008, I left for work as a network engineer in Peachtree City, Georgia, much the same as I had every morning for almost eight years. This day would be different than all the rest and begin a journey through the mysterious and sometimes frightening world of Traumatic Brain Injury. My story is here and my blog is www.hopeaftertbi.net.
Valerie Jo Smith
Valerie Jo Smith, a mother of two infants, suffered a closed head injury resulting in a stroke and left hemiplegia after an automobile accident on August 14, 1989. Read Valerie's story of how her faith in God and his will for her life – and her strong personal determination – carried her through her recovery process, the raising of her children, and the making of a new life plan for herself.
I want to give back, by being a mentor for someone going through stroke, never never give up. On Feb. 20, 2012 when life throws you a curve ball, I never thought it would happen to me, ability to walk, read, write, speak, or comprehend, it was hard and fearful, but with God, miracles happen. Heb. 13:5 I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Three days in I.C.U., four weeks in rehabilitation center at Southern Regional Medical Center, I hope my video will encourage others, that through the storms of life, you can make it, quitting is not an option.
Kristin was in an automobile accident in Scotland where she attended school. Considered a medical rarity, during her initial recovery she found that she could no longer hear and yet she "heard" loud noises through amplified sounds from her PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is becoming less with time. Communication is a problem for her because although she can lip-read a little, she found she could only communicate with her parents. Read Kristin's optimistic account of her incredible journey in her new world.
Dick Taylor is a member of the Emory Rehabilitation Hospital's Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association Program. He is also a member of their stroke support group there at Emory Rehab. Visiting with Dick now, you would not have a clue that he had a stroke less than 3 years ago. He had one side of his body paralyzed and could not walk, talk, feed himself, etc. Read his story in the StrokeSmart online magazine.
Nicolas Uppal is a new 2015 Brain Injury Peer Visitor with the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association. He sustained a brain injury and spinal cord injury in a motorcycle crash. Read his story here.
Hello. On December 11, 2008 I had a brain stem stroke which rendered me "locked in". As of today, I have had an amazing recovery and am back to doing a lot of the everyday things I enjoy. Read more about Wes and watch a YouTube video of Wes's incredible recovery.
Erica Wagner, a 20-year-old, was injured in 2013 in a near-fatal car crash. She lost control of the car, and her head and both arms came out of the driver's window as she slammed into the cement dividing wall on the freeway. Erica was non-responsive for 22 days (was in a vegetative state for 2 months) – then in the hospital for 21 months.
Read Erica's amazing story and watch a video made by one of her college friends. Erica is a beautiful young lady and currently back in college taking a few courses. She is talking, walking, and helping others less fortunate than herself.
Molly, a student a Auburn, was driving along a highway in Alabama in early February 2008 when she collided with an oncoming truck. She sustained a severe brain injury and remained in ICU for three weeks. She was then transferred to Shepherd Center, where she underwent multiple rigorous therapies, and she emerged a victorious young lady with great potential! Molly and her mom, Mary, are now Peer Visitors at Shepherd Center. Read an article (PDF) that appeared in the fall 2008 edition of the Spinal Column chronicling a week in Molly's life at Shepherd.
Also, watch this video about Molly – this is her Video Resume. Molly graduated from college and is ready to go back to work. NOTE: This video worked! As of April, 2015, Molly has a job.