In His Own Words…
Before my accident, I owned my own insurance agency and was an award-winning district manager with Colonial Life Insurance Company. I was also completing a master’s degree at Central Michigan University, involved in a relationship, and looking forward to a bright future!
On October 5, 2010, my life changed forever. According to a coworker with me in the car – I have no memory of the event – we were on I-96 when we noticed traffic stopped for an accident that had already occurred. As I slowed down, a car going 80 MPH hit us from behind. My vehicle was then pushed into the next lane where another vehicle hit us at 70 MPH, and then a third one careened into us from behind.
Original reports stated that I “died” at the scene. Fortunately, a passing nurse helped revive me, and during the ambulance ride three more resuscitation’s were necessary before arriving at Sparrow Hospital and immediately being taken in for emergency brain surgery. My mother, who arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter, was told I had one of the most severe brain injuries they’d seen and was not expected to survive the night.
The hospital staff further informed her that I’d been placed on a ventilator, had a tracheotomy, and had a feeding tube placed. The critical injuries I sustained included a broken back and neck, a damaged spleen which had to be removed, a collapsed lung, a stroke, seizures, neuropathy, shattered ribs, a blood clot in one leg, paralysis on the left side, and being in a coma. Post-surgically, I experienced hearing loss, nerve damage that affected vision, bladder problems, short term memory loss, cognitive problems, speech issues and balance problems.
These deficits were expected given my initial Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) was a 3/15. Research indicates that after 24 hours, only 7% of individuals with a score of GCS of 3 or 4 will recover with at least moderate disability.
After over a month in a coma, I began a miraculous recovery process at Special Tree Rehabilitation System in Romulus, Michigan where I was a resident for almost seven months and had to relearn the basic functions from dressing and bathing to walking and talking.
My in-patient therapy at Special Tree was so remarkable, that at my discharge on April 12, 2011, 30 employees, including the owner of the company, stopped by to wish me good luck!
Today, even after additional outpatient therapy and medical treatment, I still deal with deficits – hearing loss, short-term memory problems, difficulty finding the right words, anxiety, and depression. Throughout by recovery, my mom and sister have been my strongest allies. Were it not for them, I might not have gotten involved with the BIAMI and become the Vice President of my chapter, where I’m able to lend support to others.
For Brandon’s website click here.