Keys to successful recoveries for Brain Injured Survivors


 As a 20-year survivor of traumatic brain injury, I believe I’ve heard multiple reasons for my positive recovery.  First I heard that because I was so young (29) when I had my accident, I was able to make a pretty significant recovery.  I also heard that because I was an athlete, who played basketball in high school and college, it put me in a better position to make a good recovery.  Well, I haven’t met the entire demographic of survivors, but I have met many survivors who were not athletes, or young, who have made great recoveries. I honestly believe great recoveries are contingent on the survivor along with those who support the survivor.  I don’t think that my struggles were less significant nor was there something in my path that push me harder than other survivors. 

I decided early in my rehabilitation that I WAS going to recover!  I did not know how ‘it’ would look on me.  I did not know I would still be walking with a limp, and I figured I’d be playing basketball like I previously had.  I thought recovering from 4 weeks in a coma and dealing with left side weakness would be like recovering from an injury, like a broken bone.  Initially my restoration was dependent on trying to compete with pre-accident Rod Frazier.  I knew it would take time, and I was hoping for a ‘microwave’ recovery.  Unfortunately, after failing to meet my expectations, I had to accept that I may not return to my pre-morbid self.  Disappointing, yes, but I am still a competitor!  I had to change the game and complete the things people believe I couldn’t do.

Changing the game is harder than one may think, but if you’re looking to make a recovery, be prepared to push yourself harder than expected.  I am sure that sounds easier said than done, but throughout my recovery I did not have access to a recovery manual, nor did I have all of the physical attributes to do everything asked.  But I learned to break everything into steps.  If a process contains 5-steps, and you can only perform steps 1-3, great!  But have you looked at a way to perform steps 4&5 with assistance?  Maybe after a few repetitions, you may be able to do it on your own.  My biggest accomplishment was walking up and down the stairs, without a right side railing, going to my basement.  I wasn’t able to do this initially, but when I was successfully able to ambulate up the stairs, I had to walk up the stairs backwards where I was able to use my right hand.

Does this sound unsafe or silly? Maybe, but why not set easy goals you can complete, or try something a little harder to push yourself further than you expected.  I know people may not be fans of AI, so I apologize, but when I asked ChatGPT about the critical reasons goal setting is important for survivors, these sounded pretty good to me:

“Goal setting is particularly important for brain injury survivors for multiple reasons:

  1. Rehabilitation Focus: Setting goals allows brain injury survivors to focus their efforts on specific areas of rehabilitation. These goals can be related to physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of recovery.
  2. Motivation: Working towards achievable goals can provide motivation and a sense of purpose during the recovery process. Achieving even small goals can boost confidence and morale, which is crucial for maintaining motivation in the face of challenges.
  3. Measuring Progress: Goals serve as benchmarks for measuring progress. They provide a clear indication of how far the survivor has come in their recovery journey and help track improvements over time.
  4. Direction and Structure: Brain injury survivors often face a multitude of challenges and uncertainties. Setting goals provides direction and structure to their rehabilitation efforts, helping them prioritize tasks and allocate resources effectively.
  5. Sense of Control: Brain injuries can often leave survivors feeling a loss of control over their lives. Setting goals empowers survivors by giving them a sense of control over their recovery process and future outcomes.
  6. Facilitating Communication: Clearly defined goals facilitate communication between the survivor, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the survivor’s aspirations and the steps needed to achieve them.
  7. Building Resilience: Pursuing goals in the face of adversity builds resilience. Brain injury survivors often encounter setbacks and obstacles along the way, but having clear goals helps them stay focused and resilient in the face of challenges.

Overall, goal setting is a powerful tool for brain injury survivors to reclaim agency over their lives, drive their recovery forward, and work towards a fulfilling future despite the challenges they may face.”


I believe goal setting is imperative to recover from TBI. While your recovery may not be what you expect, do not look down on what you’ve accomplished, because being your best matters! I want to encourage all survivors to continue to reach for things that may appear unreachable. You may surprise yourself with your efforts. Also, things feel worse than they may appear. I am very critical of myself and the way I may see myself, but it may not be as bad as you think. Make sure you ask someone you trust how things look to them. You might be surprised.

I have to admit that while I was skeptical with using AI, the more I have played with this application, the more confident I am with its feedback.  I have not posted since last year, but because it is Brain Injury Awareness month, I decided to release a couple of posts.  I will focus my posts on recovering from TBI, as I believe it is the hardest part of this injury.  If there is something you’d like me to talk about or research, I am open to hearing requests.  I also wanted to share that I am looking into creating a Clubhouse in the Tampa area to help survivors see and be the best survivors they can be!

Set goals and keep pushing survivors!

Title: “The Importance of Goal Setting for Brain Injury Survivors: A Comprehensive Overview”

Author: Rodrick Frazier

Publication Date: 03/17/2024

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4 thoughts on “Keys to successful recoveries for Brain Injured Survivors”

  1. Much success on you Clubhouse. With God, all things are possible.Go for it, Rod! You are truly a survivor and a persevering person.

  2. Wow…..I knew it had been a long time, but great to see you “back in the saddle” again !!!!! Looking forward to the next articles that come out. I always learn a lot. Love to you & Alisha

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