Posted on October 12, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 1 of 20 in the series Steven

Severe Brain Injury Survivor: Steven Part One

Any professional who deals with human suffering has to build a wall around their personal feelings, or they would be unable to do the job.  Each day, each client, each patient, each severe brain injury survivor brings so much sadness, that if you got caught up in it, you would be unable to be “professional.” Despite that, for all the professionals who become advocates, there is always one person who opened their eyes, opened their heart, to the human element.  Every caring professional at some point does cross over and do the extra thing, the charitable thing, the committed thing – that not only helps to make life better for the one person they helped, but also converts a profession to a calling.

For Steven, the severe brain injury survivor , the professional who “saved” him, a severe brain injury survivor,  was a school administrator at the tech school where he was floundering in his last chance at recovery.  Steven was one of those who fell into a crease in our safety net for the severe brain injury survivors.  He had no family, no insurance, no disability – no access to anything.  Not only was Steven homeless, he might have been one click away from not surviving his severe brain injury survivor survival.  The best that our system could do was put him, a severe brain injury survivor, into a tech school. Yet without intervention, that would not have made a difference.

Bill, the school administrator who rescued Steven a severe brain injury survivor, had this to say about the change in his own life as a result:

He’s enlightened me to a lot of things of.  I’ve never felt myself to be a totally cold person but I was, I guess.  I had protected myself.  In my business you do, I mean, you know (you have to).  But I think that Steven, he’s let me know that sometimes when I would look at somebody possibly maybe judge them, that I was wrong without getting to know them. I think that I can thank Steven for that – that maybe now I’m a little bit more patient, especially with some of my students.  I need to stop and listen first before I make a judgment.  And I guess that Steven and I, both, are just lucky that I was put in his path and he was put in mine – that we could grow up with each other.

Later we will go deeply into the role that Bill played in Steven’s severe brain injury survivor survival story.  Now turning to my interview with Steven:

How did you get hurt?

I had a car accident in 2005 and I flew through the windshield of my car and bounced off the highway out into the median and woke up a month later; three weeks to a month.

Steven has no memory of the accident itself.

How close in time to the accident do you remember things?

Around that time period, but most all my pre-wreck memories are a little bit – I don’t know what the word is – maybe convoluted would be a good word or kind of like a dream that you had, say three or four months ago, that you have a vague overall image of, but I don’t have any specifics.

What was the date of your accident?

June 26, 2005.

How old are you now?

I’m 34.  I just turned.

So you would’ve been how old?

I think I had my birthday while I was in the hospital still.

So you were 27, and you had your 28th birthday in the hospital?

Yes, sir.

Do you know what caused the accident?

Apparently, I just lost control because nobody else was involved thankfully.

And when you lost control did you hit something?

No, sir.  The car just flipped about 13 times and my being ejected is the only thing that allows me to sit here and talk to you right now.

You went through the windshield?

That’s what I was told.

You have no recollection of the day of the accident?

No, sir.

Were you by yourself?

 No, sir.  I had someone with me.

What happened to the other person?

He broke his knuckle.

So did he get knocked out?

I don’t know.  He’s the one that told me most everything I know about it.

Was he ejected as well?

Yes, sir.

And all he got was a broken knuckle?

A broken knuckle.

Is there anything else he’s told you about the accident that would give us a little more information about what happened?

Nothing really that I can think of.  I mean, as bad as my injuries were and everything, I’d keep my place before his in a heartbeat because he will probably be doing prison time ’til 2020 something, so I came out a little better even though it sounds like he did.

Was he driving?

No, I was driving.

Next in Part Two – Severe Brain Injury Complicated by Stroke and Physical Injuries

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