In October 2013, while teaching in Detroit, oldest son Spencer was in a near fatal car crash, while running an errand for his school. He suffered life threatening injuries including a ruptured spleen, collapsed lung and broken ribs, collarbone, and pelvis. While all of these injuries were very serious, we were especially concerned about the traumatic brain injury (TBI) he suffered. The doctors were able to save his life, but unfortunately, they gave his family very little hope that Spencer would overcome his TBI and thought he would spend the remainder of his life in a nursing home.
Spencer began to show signs of progress while still in the ICU, which allowed our family to have him moved to an inpatient rehab facility. Spencer quickly made great progress during his rehab which allowed him to move to outpatient therapy just five weeks after his accident.
While Spencer rehabilitated, we were alarmed at how little medical professionals knew about TBIs once we got out of the brain specialized regions of the hospital. It’s not their fault, but rather a lack of teaching of TBI care in school. The more doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and other healthcare providers we talked to, the more we realized that they wanted to learn and help, they just didn’t have a route to do so.
Spencer is now walking, talking, full of witty puns, and even teaching just like before. We were blessed to have Spencer make a full recovery and we have been blessed to meet some amazing medical professionals along the way. We established Smith Brain Connections to help give the best opportunity to TBI patients and families to have a successful outcome.
Our family isn’t claiming to have all the answers about TBI, but we are saying that there are medical professionals out there that can help educate other medical providers about TBI treatment, and it’s our mission to set up these brain education connections.