Posted on May 14, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 4 of 36 in the series Michael

Before the Accident: Michael Part Four

In part four we discuss who Micheal was before the accident.  Who was Michael before TBI and what he was looking forward to in life.


Let’s talk about who you were be, and what your dreams, aspirations were, before the accident.  You were a college student?

            Actually, UWO was my third college.

Before the accident, did you have any idea what you wanted to become after you graduated from college?

I really and truly had no idea.  This might sound kind of weird, but my object was to go to school for as long as I could, get a huge debt and die.

I remember having somewhat the same thoughts at 22, when I started law school.

And is that what you said before the accident?

That’s what I said before.  The girl I was dating, when I had my accident, constantly reminded me of what I said about that because she thought it was kind of funny.

What other schools did you go to?

            I went to EKU for a semester.

That’s Eastern Kentucky University.

It was Eastern Kentucky University and then I went to the University of Louisville and I was kicked out, flatly asked to leave.

Poor grades?

That and I was drunk all the time.

How did you wind up at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh?

I followed a girl that I was dating at the time. And at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh they have a program.  I was diagnosed with being dyslexic before I had my car – I didn’t know, I was 21 when I got diagnosed, and they have a program (for that) so that’s where I went and got involved with that.

You started in the fall the year before the accident

I started in, yes the fall of whenever. (His accident was in March of 1993).

Before the accident, do you remember you ever taking exams at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh?

I can remember most of the exams that I had I think were essays, because of my major.

What was your major at the time?

            Human Services.

Now you said you followed a girl.  Was she from Louisville and came up here for school?

She actually was born in Neenah.  She went to live down in Texas, Katy, Texas for a while.  Yeah, that’s right.  And then she came to Louisville with her mom.  She went to the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and then her mom had her transferred to Linciner, Wisconsin and she got diagnosed up in UWO.  Then she talked me into coming and getting diagnosed.

What was she diagnosed with?


How long had you dated her?

I dated her for eight years. I dated her for four years before the accident and four years after.

Did you ever get married?

            No.  I’ve been married, but I didn’t marry to her.

You weren’t married before the accident?


What did you like to do in terms of recreational activities?

            Well when I was at the University of Louisville, I drank.

When you say drank, typical college student type drinking?

I’d say I was on the verge of being an alcoholic.  That’s how to describe it – every week night, pretty much six to seven days of the week I was drunk. I lived with my parents.  I was part of a fraternity and I did have enough common sense to stay in there when I was inebriated and not drive home.

Were you interested in sports?

Well I’m from Kentucky.  Basketball is the big thing in Kentucky and I played basketball mostly recreational and in grade school.

Did you play in high school?


Where’d you go to high school?

            de Sales, Saint Francis de Sales.

And that’s a Catholic school in Louisville?

            Catholic, because my grade school was Saint Agnes.

What other interests did you have in high school?

Well actually, I can’t really remember.  Now it’s a lot different.  I like to read which I never did beforehand.  I read everything from philosophy to fiction, to biographies.  I collect.  When I’m stressed I really focus on those.  The cards and books and comic books.  but now I like to go on the computer and I have a – one son myself and I’m getting married in September and I’m going to be getting three more children. That’s what I do now is watch them during the summer.

Our interview of Michael was done in two parts, separated by about 10 months. The first was done in June of 2011, the second part in April of 2012. The interview was originally scheduled in a library conference room, but had to be terminated because a meeting was scheduled for such conference room before we had finished.

Next In Part Five – Recollections of Therapy for Severe Brain Injury

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447