Posted on March 1, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 24 of 32 in the series Kelly

Keeping Jobs after TBI: Kelly Part Twenty Four

In our 21st Century world, a degree doesn’t equal competitive employment. It doesn’t help in keeping jobs after TBI. Kelly elaborates:

So you’ve been working as a massage therapist for ten years now?

Yes, I have.  Uh huh.

Do you make a living?

No. Well, I work with a lot of geriatrics.  It got so bad one of my clients says Kelly, you know, if you were, I wish you were my physical therapist because if you were a physical therapist I could just come to you and get my, get my physical therapy and my massage all at once.

And I says light bulb.  That’s a good idea.  Since I wasn’t making a sustainable living as a massage therapist, because it takes money to market yourself and advertise that you’re available, blah, blah, blah, whatnot.  So I went back to the vocational director, I said I’m not making a living at this.  We’re going to  have to get me some further training.  Maybe as a physical therapist.

Well, I already had one college degree and I have an associate’s level degree for massage and I’ve got more education than anybody should be allowed.  But he sent me back to school.

Come to find out to be a physical therapist going to take me eight years of training to be a doctor of physical therapist, physical therapy.  That was a little bit beyond my…. At that time, see I was 40 years old, be 48 before I got through to, I just couldn’t do it.  Just couldn’t do it.  So I changed my major to recreational therapy.  They did send me back to school to become a recreational therapist.

What is a recreational therapist?  Is that like a personal trainer?

It is.  It’s a person that works with people with disabilities to help them find a better quality of life, and leisure in life through recreation.

So have you finished your recreational therapy degree?

Yes, I, I finished that in ’07.  I got my recreational degree.

Now are you making a living as a recreational therapist.

No, because nobody’s hiring recreational therapists.

Have you been on Social Security Disability?


For how long?

1998 or 9.

And despite your efforts to go back to school, you’ve never made enough money that you exceeded the substantial gainful activity level within the social security system?

I’ve never made a sustainable living.

Next in Part Twenty Five – Education Is an End In Itself Post TBI

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