A Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery Story to Provide Hope

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), among the most serious injuries you can sustain, are almost always caused by accidents. Brett, an avid bicyclist, recently shared about his traumatic brain injury recovery in an article for SCOPE, a publication of Stanford Medicine. He was severely injured during a bicycling accident that left him with a life-altering TBI. However, Brett was determined to not allow his prognosis of traumatic brain injury to hold him back.

In the article, Brett talks about his road to traumatic brain injury recovery and what life is now like for him six years post-injury.

Brett’s Story of Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment & Recovery

According to the SCOPE article, Brett’s story of traumatic brain injury recovery began around 2013 when he decided to participate in a charity bike ride from Santa Barbara, California to Charleston, North Carolina. While riding in Oklahoma, he fell from his bike and struck his head, sustaining a subdural hematoma — one of the deadliest types of traumatic brain injuries.

Brain Damage and Recovery

Brett was in a coma for nine days. The doctors had to remove part of his skull to remove blood and create space for his brain to swell without causing further damage. Later, he underwent a cranioplasty to replace the section of skull that was removed.

The accident left him with minor seizures, short-term memory loss, and the inability to control the left side of his body. While many TBI survivors go through a series of emotional stages during their traumatic brain injury recovery, Brett remained highly positive throughout the process.

Before the accident, Brett was very physically fit and active. As part of his recovery from brain damage, his neurosurgeon recommended that he start a comprehensive exercise routine that included daily exercise and healthy amounts of sleep. Brett eagerly embraced the plan and began clocking his steps, biking miles, and sleep cycles. He also stayed active socially as well, meeting up with friends and colleagues almost daily.

Brett’s story is just one example of how some traumatic brain injury recovery stories can go. Today, more than half a decade after his accident, he walks between 40 and 70 miles each week.

The Prevalence of Traumatic Brain Injuries in the U.S.

Statistics shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that “about 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths” were reported in the U.S. in 2013, and that falls accounted for 47% of them.

The Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

There is a wide range of traumatic brain injuries that people can sustain, and many survivors are successful in achieving some level of traumatic brain injury recovery. Some TBIs are relatively mild whereas others are severe and can result in death.

There are three main categories of traumatic brain injury: closed head, open wound, or crushing. Within these three categories are multiple types of traumatic brain injuries:

  • Brain Contusion — Also known as a bruise, a brain contusion causes a mild form of bleeding (bruising) under the skin. This type of injury often occurs in conjunction with a concussion and is similar to them in nature.
  • Concussion — This is the most common type of brain injury and can range from mild to severe.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury — This occurs when there is enough force or motion to one side of the brain that it causes the brain to move inside the skull and cause damage to the opposite side as well.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury — Also known as DAI, this injury is similar to a concussion in that it involves the movement of the brain. However, unlike a concussion, it can result in the tearing of connectors in the brain and can be fatal.
  • Second Impact Syndrome — Also known as recurrent traumatic brain injury, this is an injury that causes further damage after a previous TBI was sustained.
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome — Much like DAI, the damage caused by shaking a baby can result in brain hemorrhages, tears in the brain and brain stem, and strokes.

Every TBI is Different When It Comes to TBI Recovery

No two traumatic brain injuries are the same. Even in instances where two injuries are caused in similar ways, the resulting brain damage and recovery process that follows is never the same and will affect each person differently. However, there are many incredible stories of traumatic brain injury recovery that survivors share to encourage other TBI survivors and their families to remain hopeful.

At Spinal Cord, we’ve made it our goal to provide survivors of traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, as well as their families, with the information they need by serving as the best possible resource. This includes sharing relevant research and news, as well as the incredible stories of TBI recovery from survivors like Brett.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury and would like to share your story and experiences with the SC community, we invite you to do so by clicking on the link below.


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Topics: Accidents, Recovery & Rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injury

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