Posted on February 24, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 20 of 32 in the series Kelly

Driving After Severe Brain Injury: Kelly Part Twenty

In part twenty we talk about other factors of rejoining the real world such as driving after severe brain injury.

You were telling us that one of the real problems being back in the real world, is not having your driver’s license and driving after severe brain injury .  To help us get a better feel for that, describe where it is you live:

I live about 30 minutes north, northwest of Nashville, Tennessee, which Nashville is the capitol city of Tennessee.  So we’re a sleeper city or a suburb of Nashville.  We’re halfway between Clarksville, which is the home of the 101st Airborne, which is Fort Campbell.  And a lot of people have heard about Fort Campbell and the soldiers in Afghanistan.  And so we’re halfway between a military base and the capitol city of the state.

Your mother actually lives in a fairly rural setting so driving after severe brain injury is very important?


Can you walk to stores or restaurants from here?

No restaurants.  There are no restaurants unless you want to go to Wendy’s, and I don’t consider that a restaurant.  Yes, you could walk.

How far a walk is it, a mile?

About a mile. Right at a mile.


Kelly’s Driving After Severe Brain Injury Important For Her to Get Around

So how do you ultimately solve the mobility problem? 

You have to get your driver’s license back or beg someone to come and get you.  I was forever, “Please come get me, take me somewhere.  Please, please, let’s just go do something.”  You find out who your friends are after these types of injuries.

You got your driver’s license back so you could begin driving after severe brain injury?


How did you get your driver’s license?

I had to beg my mother to help me get my driver’s license back.  And everyone said that she (meaning Kelly) couldn’t, that you had to go through all the training process.  Well, I still had my driver’s license, but it just wasn’t any good legally.  So we followed all the routines about how to go about getting your license.  It’s going to  be very expensive to get it back.  All the additional training and things of that nature.

So we talked to the outpatient people at Vanderbilt Stallworth about how to go about training for the driver’s license.  We tried that route, it was too expensive.  They said well then check with the department of vocational rehabilitation and we did that and they said well you need to go to the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center and they’ve got a driver’s training program.  It’s seven months long rehabilitation program for all the different therapies for brain injury.  And they’ll put you through the whole routine of getting your driver’s license back.

So I applied there.  It was a two-week evaluation program to see whether or not you’re cognitively able to go through the rehabilitation program.  I was, I was accepted and I went to the program and was finally approved only through my persistence at making them give me the training to get my license back, to get my license back.

Finally I did, I got my license back

Next in Part Twenty One – Tennessee Voc Rehab Helped TBI Recovery

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