For most people, reading the words “closed-head injury,” or “traumatic brain injury” may conjure up scenes of traffic wrecks or other serious injury accidents, but what do those simple words really mean? To you, me or a family trying to deal with a loved one recovering from such a life-changing event? Unless you’ve lived it yourself, the reality of such an experience — not to mention its aftermath — is far from most people’s imaginations.
As a Baltimore automobile injury attorney and personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen the results of traumatic head injury up close and personal. As a firm that represents victims of car, truck and motorcycle accidents, I and my colleagues understand that the challenges faced by individuals who have survived terrible traffic accidents do not always end when they leave the hospital.
Unless a person is one of the lucky few who can pick up their life where they left it after a severe car or commercial trucking accident, weeks, months or even years of intensive rehabilitation may loom ahead. And not just for that one person, but for his or her family as well. The costs can be staggering, all because of a moment’s loss of concentration or negligence actions of another individual.
In Frederick, Hagerstown, Annapolis and College Park, as well as towns and cities all across Maryland, motor vehicle accidents happen on a daily basis. Some crashes are fatal and take the lives of one or all occupants of a vehicle; others are less severe, yet leave scars that take years or even decades to heal. A recent story caught our eye regarding a seven-year-old boy, now a 49-year-old man who has struggled all his life since a childhood bicycle accident put him in a wheelchair and stole he youth.
According to the article, Kevin Detwiler is one of the lucky few who has a life now, but who went through hell along with his family following a tragic accident in the late ‘70s when he was struck by a car on an early spring day in St. Mary’s County. He was reportedly out for a ride with the rest of his family when the crash happened. The accident landed the second grader in the hospital with what is now known as traumatic brain injury.
Knocked into a coma, doctors originally said that Detwiler would end up in a permanent vegetative state. Those dire predictions were never to come true, although the boy and his family faced massive challenges as he spent the first six months following the collision in a number of different hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. According to the article, the boy had to learn how to swallow, to talk and how to eat. Due to the severity of his injuries, Detwiler had to rely on a wheelchair to get around because of limited use of his left side and limitations of his right leg. He also suffered from short-term memory problems.
Fortunately for this man, he and his family persevered and he eventually made it though grade school, graduated high school and went to college. For 10 years, Detwiler took classes at Charles County Community College where he studying drafting and small computer operations, eventually graduating with an associate’s degree. Sadly, he could not keep up with the quickly evolving technologies out there due to his continuing issues with his memory.
Today he works as substitute teacher in the St. Mary’s public school system. He still relies on a wheelchair, but has managed to make a life for himself, despite massive challenges. Even after working a full school day, he must make time for several hours of physical therapy to maintain a level of physical fitness and avoid atrophy.
Valley Lee resident is recognized for decades of overcoming challenges, SoMDNews.com, March 18, 2011