Posted on January 23, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 1 of 32 in the series Kelly

Subdural Hematoma Caused by Horse Bridling Error: Kelly Part One

Kelly and I discussed the subdural hematoma that occurred when she was trying to bridle and untamed horse.

The moments, the impulses that change lives.  Yet, sometimes, despite profound brain injury, people remain remarkably the same person.  Disability has been added, life gets harder, yet the personality, the drive that made the person exceptional before, still make them stand out. Kelly is such a person and her story so good, that there is little need for commentary from me.

Moments Leading Up to the Subdural Hematoma

I was living on a horse ranch in Texas while working for a radio station.  I was a marketing consultant advertising rep basically and the barn, and the ranch I was living on, the owner trained horses.  He would go to Fort Worth and get some unbroken horses, bring them back for training.

Being a Tennessee farm girl, I’ve always loved horses, and a palomino has always been my favorite.  He just happened to be training a palomino stallion and I wanted to get to know this horse. On Saturday, September the 7th of 1997, it was Princess Diana’s day of her funeral, and I walked out to the horse barn and got the bridle off of the wall and went to bridle Gus, the horse.  He had a halter on and I led him out to the horse arena, which is basically outside the barn, it’s where they train them, and I attempted to bridle the horse.

I took the halter off, because you can’t really lead a horse around and talk to it, you’d get used to it with just a halter on him.  So I attempted to put the bridle on the horse but the horse, of course, being unbroken, didn’t know what this thing was I was putting on his head and trying to put in his mouth.  Then he kind of got upset I believe and he swung his head causing the bridle to come up over his head, and the it hit me on my head.

It did not fracture my skull, but it did cause a subdural hematoma.

I was living with a coworker.  She needed some help with her, her newborn, getting it, getting the baby back and forth to daycare and she was the early morning sign on‑air person.  I was just an advertising sales rep.

And you were working for a radio station?

Yes, sir, uh huh.

Now you’ve described events right up to the moment of your injury.  Do you remember those events?


So you’re, you have no retrograde amnesia, meaning amnesia for events before your injury?


Do the events that you remember actually coincide with what physically happened to you,the subdural hematoma?


What do you remember of the day before your injury?

I remember that I went, I supposedly had a date the night before and I went on the date, but the date was a no show, so I called the friend that introduced me to the sup, the expected date and she said he’d gotten called away on some other, some other, something else and that he would not be there.  I said okay, thank you for letting me know.  I remember that very clearly, then I came on back to the home, to the ranch, to the house where I was living and gave the little dog a bath that night.

You were knocked out at the time of the, of you got the subdural hematoma?


What do you know of what happened to you from the moment you got got the subdural hematoma?

Just what I’ve been told.

And what is that?

That I was attempting to ride the horse, was thrown, hit my head on a piece of equipment that was lying in the horse arena.

But you don’t believe that to be true?

No, I know that wasn’t true.

And that’s because you actually have a memory of the events up to the moment of your injury even with the subdural hematoma?


Next in Part Two – Airlifted to Austin for Brain Surgery

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