20 years of survival


On April 13, 2023, I will be a proud, 20-year survivor of severe traumatic brain injury!  Easter was last week, so I can say this is my resurrection week too!  It’s important that I quickly recap my story for anyone who hasn’t heard it previously… I bought my first motorcycle on a Saturday afternoon after I was given THREE warnings not to buy it, but on the next day I lost control of it and ran into a mailbox with my head.  As a result, I suffered a traumatic brain injury which left me in a coma for four weeks!  It was a crazy day!!  On the first day I go out to enjoy my new toy, I find myself on a new path called ‘life-long recovery’! 

While my accident didn’t cause broken bones, it left me with a split chin, a little road rash, and missing memories from the day.  My injuries would have been worse, but I was smart enough to put on a helmet.  Retrospectively, I think 20 years have quickly flown by, as it feels like the accident was only a few years ago.  But when I look in the mirror and see the gray in my beard, I am reminded that the fight for life, career, athletic ability, education, and friendships has matured along with the season I am now in.

Would I say I am a different man than I was in 2003?  Of course!  I have a greater appreciation for life, married for 13 years, living a life of purpose, and a more spiritual being than ever!  With that being said, it is important that I share what was on my mind after the service from Sunday.

First, after experiencing such a traumatic event, you have to lean on your faith and know that God didn’t allow you to survive to be an inconvenience to other people.  We are all here for a reason, but it is up to us to find our reason and purpose.  I don’t think I truly understood my purpose until I tried doing things I wanted to do on my own.  This was when I learned life was no longer about me, and led me to writing “Like A Snowflake: My experience and recovery from TBI”.

Second, we have to be careful of the people around us during our times of struggle and pain.  I’ve learned God will release His angels to surround you while recovering they will help bring you into your next level in life.  I am very thankful for everyone who came to visit, those who prayed for me, and even those who stayed away for personal reasons.  If I had not experienced this on my own and learned how great it is to be able to talk to friends about your daily struggles, I I would not be first to volunteer for a hospital visit.  But because I know how uplifting it is and how much it helps to receive encouragement I will never turn down a request to support someone who is in the hospital.

Even though I am a survivor with my own story of recovery, I can share that all of our situations go bad before getting better.  While I cannot say how long your season of grief and pain will be, I encourage you to set goals and strive towards them.  All failed efforts aren’t the final say and these failures won’t define who you are.  If you believe in a higher power, know that there is a season for everything we go through, and it will get better in the next season!  I wish I could lie to you and say walking was an easy task after mastering it for 25+ years.  It was not, I had to relearn walking by taking baby steps.  This was my approach for everything I accomplished post-accident.  While playing sports in high school and college, I learned practice was critical to great performance.  When you do not practice the things you learn, you will not get better!  So, in order to get better, physical, and mental functions require practice along with therapy with a rehab professional who knows your story.


I am very aware of the fact that all brain injuries are different and every experience is its own challenge.  However, I suggest all survivors going through rehab, create a list of goals.  Goals are essential to setting an expectation, and after achieving your goals, you can live in your expectation! All of my accomplishments started with goal setting and have been essential to my results.  Previously I’ve set goals to walk and drive again and while they were both challenging, they are now accomplished.  I also set goals at work to recently attain Microsoft Certifications on two different software applications.  I believe I have accomplished more than anyone would have expected of me considering all that I have been through.  But, I believe my success has been about having faith in myself, taking time to practice, and believing in myself more than anyone else! Be sure to watch your attitudes!

Stay strong survivors!

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