Posted on December 9, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 4 of 24 in the series TJ

Before His Severe Brain Injury: TJ Part Four

As with most survivors, even though TJ was in a near two month coma, he has near total recollection of his life before his severe brain injury.  While there is some difficulty during the period of emersion from coma, that is not retrograde amnesia, just confusion. When the mind begins to clear, those memories are largely still there.

TJ Before His Severe Brain Injury

TJ was 27 on the date of his accident and before his severe brain injury. He is 32 now.

Did you graduate from high school?


Did you have a job after high school?

I’ve had a lot of jobs.

Did you go to College ?


Where did you go to college?

In Massachusetts.

Did you graduate?


How long did you go to school?

A year of a two-year course.

TJ’s Jobs Before His Severe Brain Injury

Tell me about some of the jobs you had.

Every job under the sun.  One of the last jobs I had when I crashed I was working at Sears and UPS.

What did you do for UPS?

Stacking trucks. (Loading trucks.)

What did you do for Sears?

Customer service.

What other jobs had you had?

Everything, pizza man, bartender, a busboy, a waiter, everything.  I worked in a restaurant.

TJ was Driving With a Suspended License Before His Severe Brain Injury

You had a problem with your driver’s license at the time of your wreck?

It was suspended.

Why did it get suspended?

Not paying tickets.

You used to like to drive fast?

I guess you call it that.

What did you like to do other than work before you got hurt?

All kinds of things. Chase girls. Girls is, is fun.

Were you married?

No, never been. I thought about it.

Did you ever have any children?

One daughter. Eight, she’ll be 9 in October.

So she was about 3 when you got hurt?


Her mother is someone you have a good relationship with?

I don’t want to say good, we talk, but, that’s about it.

TJ’s Other Interests Before Severe Brain Injury

Were you interested in sports?

I played football, baseball, basketball, ran cross country in high school.  And I played softball.

What about sports teams?  Are you a Boston sports fan?

I hate Boston.

What teams did you follow?

The New York Giants and the New York Yankees.

How’d you get to be a Yankee fan? Were you living in the part of Massachusetts that’s closer to New York than Boston?

Well, I was living in Cape Cod and then when I was on my own I lived in the upper part of Mass. by the Vermont border.

While not specifically relevant to who TJ was before his severe brain injury, I routinely ask questions about areas of interest (especially sports with those who are sports fans before injury) to gauge how survivors interest and memory have changed. See

You been following the Yankees since you got hurt?

A little bit.  If I catch it on TV. otherwise  but if I catch them on, I watch it.

How are the Yankees doing this year?

I really don’t know.  I don’t really watch the TV that much.

Are you a football fan?

That, that’s one thing I will, Football, I will watch football.

How did the Giants do last year?

They did all right, all right I guess.

What do you remember about the football season? (2010 – Giants just missed the playoffs.)

Up and down.

Do you remember a game against Philadelphia?  Do you remember them having a 28-point lead in the fourth quarter?

Yeah, and blowing it.

Do you remember anything specific about it?

No, not, not really.

Do you remember the Giants winning the Super Bowl? The one with, Eli Manning as quarterback?


Was that before or after you got hurt?


What do you remember about it?

The Giants won. I was just happy.

Next in Part Five – Life Waiting in the ICU After 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