Two brain injury victims who made national headlines are showing signs that they are on the mend, but it remains to be seen how full their recoveries will be.
First of all, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head outside a Tucson supermarket in January, is making progress at a rehabilitation hospital in Houston.
Her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, recently announced he was retiring from the military to co-author a memoir with Giffords about their life together before and after the shooting. That tragedy, the work of a lone mad man, left six people dead and 13 wounded at the constituent meet-and-greet that the congresswoman was conducting.
The Giffords’ book, which will be co-authored by Wall Street Journal writer Jeffrey Zaslow, may end up performing a public service: educating America about how difficult recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury is.
The issue of what will happen with Giffords’ congressional seat, and whether she will ever be able to go back to Washington, remains unanswered. Doctors have been heartened by Giffords’ progress, and she looked remarkably good in photos that were recently released of her. But her long-term prognosis isn’t known.
And she is not the only one whose future is in limbo.
About a week ago doctors upgraded the condition of the Giants fan, who was brutally beaten following the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener, from critical to serious. The senselessness of the crime made news across the country.
The man, Brian Stow, suffered brain damage and was in a coma for weeks after being set upon by two Dodger fans in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium back on March 31. But doctors at San Francisco General Hospital, where Stow now is, said he has opened his eyes and moved one of this arms.
One suspect, Giovanni Ramirez, has been arrested for the assault on Stow.
Again, as is usual in these cases, physicians told reporters that they don’t know what kind of a recovery Stow will eventually make.
Let’s wish both Giffords and Stow well as they try to overcome the challenges of recovering from TBI.