A great positive-spin tbi piece in Parade Magazine by Lee Woodruff. It’s about a year old, but it’s still a good thought-provoking read…
September 6, 2008, was a clear-blue Indian summer day in Nebraska. Jennifer Ruth sat in the stands and watched her 12-year-old son, Derek, run with the football. She was unconcerned when he was tackled in a routine play. But as he fumbled the ball, she remembers seeing his right arm drop oddly, almost in slow motion. “He never does that” flickered through her mind. The coach noticed a glazed look on Derek’s face in the team huddle. He pulled him aside and asked him for the date, score, and his brothers’ names. Derek answered correctly. Then, minutes later, he screamed, “My head,” pulled off his helmet, and collapsed.
Derek was taken to a trauma center and went into surgery. After several weeks in the ICU and months of therapy, he is regaining his physical and cognitive abilities. At first, he could only give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down response to questions; now he reads at a sixth-grade level and tackles algebra problems.
A decade ago, Derek’s prognosis might not have been hopeful. But thanks to advances in the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), the outlook for patients has dramatically improved. “ Research points to the amazing regenerative powers locked in our brains,” says Dr. Col. Rocco Armonda, senior Army neurosurgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. “The proper therapies can help with the unlocking.”