Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Updated: Gathering of resources for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

An interesting triangulation of events have led me to put together a roundup of related items. The common bond between each of these items is traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

A few days ago, I received a comment to an older piece I wrote about TBI from a reader who writes his own blog called
Second Chance to Live.

His comments intrigued me sufficiently, so I’m sharing them here.

“I am interested in providing encouragement to our veterans and the soldiers who have been wounded while protecting our great country. Additionally, I am interested in providing practical information and insight to assist their families. My name is Craig J. Phillips. I am a traumatic brain injury survivor and a master’s level rehabilitation counselor. I sustained an open skull fracture with right frontal lobe damage and remained in a coma for 3 weeks at the age of 10 in August of 1967. I underwent brain and skull surgery after waking from the coma. Follow-up cognitive and psyche-social testing revealed that I would not be able to succeed beyond high school. In 1967 Neurological Rehabilitation was not available to me, so I had to teach myself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences. I completed high school on time and went on to obtain both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.”

“Through out my lifetime I developed strategies to overcome many obstacles and in so doing I have achieved far beyond all reasonable expectations. On February 6, 2007 at the encouragement of a friend I created Second Chance to Live. Second Chance to Live presents topics in such a way to encourage, motivate and empower the reader to live life on life’s terms. I believe our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but to build us up. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, I speak from my experience, strength and hope. As a professional, I provide information to encourage, motivate and empower both disabled and non-disabled individuals to not give up on their process.”

Curious about the writer of that comment, I spent a good bit of time reading over the Second Chance to Live web site. Here are my reactions. The site is a rich resource for TBI information. The author has used his personal experience to chronicle many found truths in life, often mirroring the Eastern psyche of his martial arts training. He writes in a very philosophical style, but shares from the heart. His goal is to offer encouragement and inspiration to others who are traveling down the road he journeyed down forty years ago. His knowledge and insights to life are only eclipsed by his tenacious spirit to persevere despite the challenges thrown before him. He seems to work diligently to reply to requests readers leave in comments to his various posts.

The only critique of the site I have is that I wish Mr. Phillips would provide an email address. While comments are great for sharing thoughts and feedback, sometimes people may not want to leave a public comment and want to correspond only with the site’s author. From what I can see after spending a long period of time on the site, this one feature is lacking, or is very difficult to locate. Please make it easier for people to contact you directly. I administer several blogs and I often get emails instead of comments on the blog.

(Update 10/31/07: The above item is no longer a problem. He now has a contact form in place to aid any readers who prefer private communication in place of a public comment. Great work to finding a quick remedy, Mr. Phillips.)

From that previous site, I followed a link in one of the comments which led me to a blog that was begun to chronicle the progress of
Sgt. Samuel Nichols, USMC.

Sgt. Nichols received a TBI when he was seriously injured as the result of an improvised explosive device striking the vehicle he was riding in while serving in Iraq. The blog is a very personal sharing of thoughts, feelings, and events by his family. I couldn’t help but to feel moved by this living, virtual chronicle to one of my newly found heroes. In addition to sharing in Sgt. Nichols’ progress, the blog offers a wealth of information in the links to TBI sites and related beteran resources.

And, finally, there was this Oct. 25 New York Times article about ABC News anchor
Bob Woodruff,
Arguably the most high profile TBI survivor. The article discusses Woodruff’s advent into becoming an outspoken spokesperson for wounded soldiers, shining a particularly bright light on those with severe head injuries.

While a TBI has such an impacting effect on people, a large source of strength for meeting these challenges comes in the support from family, friends, and community. In that spirit, I hope the above information is useful in providing some network links for anybody needing some TBI resources.

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