Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury: Ryan’s Story

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury: Ryan’s Story


I remember looking around and just there
was not another soul there I knew we need to get the hospital right
now and it was very, very serious, but I didn’t realize exactly how serious it
was That morning had rained just a little
bit. Jess was out running errands. Our daughter Morgan, it was her first season
of soccer so I’d been wanting to get her out to the soccer field, just to practice. Our son Cameron was playing goalie, and Ryan was out there just kind of walking around, playing a little bit and
then just picking grass, here and there. Morgan kicked the ball and it went wide right of the soccer goal. I went to go
retrieve it and as I picked it up and I was turning around, there was
the full-sized, adult sized soccer goal was in mid-fall. I looked over to my
right and there was Ryan laying there, his eyes wide open, and the
dramatic, super pronounced swelling across his forehead. I picked him up and
I carried him maybe three or four steps calling out his name
not getting any response at all. That’s when I realized that he’s not breathing. Luckily my phone was in my pocket. I made the phone call real quick, let them know where we’re at, “Sent help now!” I had gotten CPR training
a couple years before and I just I tried to do my best.
The first responders got there immediately they’re like “hey we need to
get a life flight in here”, that’s when I I gave Jess a call. I knew the situation was bad because before we hung up the phone, Andy said he didn’t know
if Ryan was going to make it. They took him to CT and quickly
determined he needed to go into emergency surgery. The impact had caused
a portion of his skull to bone to be pushed in, so it’s putting a lot of
pressure on his brain and we removed those bone fragments and took the pressure off of his brain, and were able to repair his skull that way. Ryan was
semi-comatose and he could maybe follow some very simple commands, but he really
couldn’t talk or walk or speak or do anything that a typical three-year-old
should do. When you have a brain injury such as Ryan did a portion of the brain
is injured and that portion of the brain that’s injured does not recover. Other
parts of the brain that are not injured take over the functions that were lost,
and this is where it’s really important for patients to have good, high-quality
rehab, which we do fortunately have here at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We evaluated him to come to the rehab floor where he stayed with us for about a month and he
was able to eat and drink some by the time he left but he still had the g-tube
in, he was also able to talk some by the time he left, he was also starting to
walk and to do some playful activities (SINGING) “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells” Singing songs and not completing the
ending phrase to see if Ryan would pipe in, you could almost see his wheels turning when Andrew would play those songs for him, and I do think it helped, not only with his speech, but just with his
general cognitive progress. I’ve had the privilege of following him since he’s
been discharged. He is back to normal, he is able to walk and talk and play and do
everything now that a five-year-old should be able to do and he’s done
incredibly well after having this tragic accident.

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