Posted on May 9, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Ian

TBI Accident: Ian Part Three

We asked Ian to tell us what life was like before the TBI accident. What was his family situation and what he did for a living.

Hunting, fishing, dancing going to the bars, having fun. Married, two kids. One is 19 and the other one’s 14.


He has been married for more than 22 years. What did you do for a living before your TBI accident?

I started out being an auto mechanic and then I went to industrial, or forklift mechanic and I was working at a local forklift shop. I worked in the shop and my brother was working on the road at the time and my dad was a salesman at the place.

I went to tech school. Well, I didn’t go to tech school after high school, but I went to tech school through work itself. They sent me to school either a week long during the week day, or at night through night courses.

We asked Ian’s friend what Ian was like before his TBI accident, and with a wicked smile he answered:


He used to go fishing a lot and bring his kids, go out on the water. He used to do a lot of hunting. He was a very outdoors-type person. You wouldn’t find him at home. Out of seven days a week he was gone six – playing football, baseball, almost anything. He was always for some reason gone.

And he was talking, you know, to friends all over the place left and right, you know, tons of people that he got to know. When he bought the motorcycle that he had the accident with he gained more friends, you know, and was spending a lot more time between all of that.

We would go out and we would dance. We both loved to dance. He loves to tell a story about when we were going out to a local bar and they had dance contests way back then. That was the late, late 80s. He would say do you remember when we were on this side of the bar and we danced and we won and then we walked over to the other side and we danced and we won over there and so we had a $50.00 bar tab, drink free? So we did a lot of dancing. We did a lot of having a good time.

Did you keep him out of trouble before his TBI accident?

I don’t even know how it came about but I could talk to him just about anything and he vice versa. I would give him advice and he’d listen. Sometimes when I went over to his house and there was something going on and if I thought Ian was not listening, I’d talk to him and say hey, you’re pushing this too far – you know this – and nobody got upset about it. I was like part of the family.

His Mom paints a similar picture of Ian before his TBI accident. She said:

What was he like beforehand? A typical teenager. Had the usual – what do you want to call – attitudes. He still has an attitude but a different kind. He worked for a really good company and as you know, I don’t know if anybody said that he was a mechanic and he still does things he’s retained.

His Dad offered more insight about Ian’s work, as they had worked together before Ian’s TBI accident:

I could probably talk a little more fluently on that. He did work in the mechanical field and had very good mechanical mind, troubleshooting, of repairs on automobiles and any motorized piece of equipment, I might add. He was very, very good at aligning front ends with the dimensions and calibrations that were needed on the vehicles.

He spent time at Monroe Equipment and Neal Cadillac. He ended up in the material handling business at Yale Material Handling and he was doing quite well in there. He had his own work area and took care of equipment in that line. In fact he was referred to as one of the better mechanics in the shop.

Overall, the consistent picture of Ian was what you might expect of a Wisconsin man of his age – capable, independent and fun before his TBI accident. He had a family; he worked hard; he played hard.

Next in Part Four –Rehabilitation from Severe Brain and Neck Injury

About the Author

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