Stories of Amazing Recoveries from Brain Injury

Joann Thomason


This is the story of my son Fred that I want to share. At age 15 Fred suffered a severe TBI due to a hanging accident. He had already stopped breathing and was revived by emergency technicians. His injury was so severe the doctor stated that Fred would be deaf and blind and in an unresponsive state. At the time of his injury Fred live with his father in Daytona Beach, Florida. A short note here to say that relations between me (his mother) were strained. Shortly after his accident he was released to my custody, and Fred was brought via air ambulance to Birmingham, Alabama. He was admitted to Spain Rehab where his condition deteriorated because of the brain not being able to "tell" his body to operate. On occasions the nurse reported that his body was trying to shut down. Fred was transferred to an intermediate care facility. He was fed through a plastic gastric tube in his stomach. His elbows and knees contracted. Looking at Fred who able to manage a smile wrenched tears from all of us.

Imagine the amazement when my mother called from his room to tell me that Fred was talking!!! (I broke every speed limit in Birmingham to get there). That was about two years after his injury. The pediatrician at Spain Rehab examined Fred again, and in light of his responses recommended continued therapy, speech, physical therapy and occupational. He was readmitted to Spain Rehab.

After maybe a year he was examined by Dr. Russell Nieman at the University of Alabama in Birmingham Ortho Clinic. He performed work on Fred which resulted in no less than a miracle. After painful braces to prevent tendons from contracting again, others doctors saying "Just find a place to put him in and forget him" in about 1987 Fred began to walk with a walker.

Christmas 1989 his sister visited Fred and me in our home. Fred resided with me at the time with 24 hour nurses. Sis and I were going shopping. We told Fred 'bye. I turned around. Fred had let go of his walker and walked across the living room. I knew at that moment a miracle happened.

Fred was accepted into a residential and day training program at the local chapter of ARC in April of 1991. Every time I see Fred who is now 42 climb onto that school bus and descend the steps I know that Fred is touched by God's Angels