Monday, February 9, 2009

Teenager Shares: Surviving TBI and Having a Great Life After High School

"I was a popular girl in my high school, a cheerleader. This is me with my date for the prom. Here I am with my friends. I made a bad choice and now I am in this wheelchair and can hardly talk to you."
I was at a TBI conference this past fall, listening to a young woman share about her traumatic brain injury through a Powerpoint slide show. She was able to talk to us, but her condition was a far cry from the person we saw in the pictures on the screen.
" I thought nothing could happen to me. I was at a summer outdoor rock concert with some girlfriends. Some boys we met wanted us to leave with them and drive around. I called my mom and dad and told them what I was going to do. They said "No, come home now," and I got mad and told them off, hung up and went anyway. Our car was t-boned by a big pick-up and I was taken to the hospital."
There had been alcohol involved, and the one of the group was killed in the accident. Our speaker shared about her recovery and how hard it was. How she had to learn to talk, to read and write again. She talked about choices young people make thinking they are indestructible.
"You might think this will never happen to you. You need to listen to your parents because they know more than you think. They are trying to protect you even when you think they are being mean. I had everything, good looks, lots of friends and popularity. I still have my family and friends but I lost a lot of who I was and what I was. Don't be like me. Stay away from situations where you can get hurt or killed. Make the right choices."
I was amazed at the courage this young woman had. She had been taking her show "on the road" as it were to share in high schools throughout Oregon. She wanted teens to hear her story and maybe think twice before getting in a situation where this could happen to them. She has a woman friend/care giver and business partner that she works with to manage and operate a therapy pool center in their community as well as a business doing gift baskets.
I am heading to another TBI training here in a couple of weeks, and in conversation today, this girls story came up. I will have to ask at my next meeting about more specifics on her name and contract information and see if she has a website. If I can, I will get some information to you. I just thought her story would be an encouragement to all of us that we can make our life into anything we want, no matter the circumstances, if we are able to see our potential and work to do the right things. Have a great week!
All the best to you...

Lon Thornburg is an assistive technology specialist and professional development trainer who lives in Oregon and serves 12 districts in 7 counties. He hosts the No Limits 2 Learning Blog and The No Limits 2 Learning Live Talk Show on Blog Talk Radio. He is sharing as a contributing writer on LD LIVE!


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