TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

SPEAK OUT! – Daniel Mollino


Donna O’Donnell Figurski



Daniel Mollino - TBI Survivor & Cyclist

Daniel Mollino – TBI Survivor & Cyclist

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Daniel Mollino

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

Ringwood, New Jersey, USA     Daniel@mollino.net

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

August 11, 2010     Age 27

4. How did your TBI occur?

At work, I fell from a ladder on a telephone pole.

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

Right away. The emergency response was fast.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?

I was in a medically induced coma. I had a craniotomy, and a shunt was inserted.

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

I was in the medically induced coma for about three weeks.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)?

I had speech therapy as an inpatient. As an outpatient, I had physical therapy and therapy for executive skills.

How long were you in rehab?

Three months as an inpatient; a little over a year as an outpatient.

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I have deafness of and ringing in my right ear. I have issues with fatigue, memory, balance, personality, pain, and finding words. (See my website below for more details.)

Daniel Mollino - TBI Survivor in hospital

Daniel Mollino – TBI Survivor in hospital

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

Things became harder. It is in some ways better and in others, worse.

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?

My memory

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?

That I got back to being able to ride

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

The problem with my memory; also the public’s understanding of how a TBI impacts a person

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

My family’s being there helped. My strong headed, never-give-in mentality stuck and resulted in the support and the joining in of larger groups in my 2015 cross country bike ride to get brain injury addressed and donations to research groups. I am also on a calling basis with the offices of federal politicians from my district trying to get them to fix a system I saw fail. Hopefully the ride will get more people calling their politicians.

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

My home life changed in some ways. My wife and I switched roles – but not in a bad way.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

My social life hasn’t really changed that much. But, my deafness is an issue, and I don’t like loud environments.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

My wife is my main caregiver. Thankfully, I am not as bad off as some.

18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

My future plans are in motion. I am biking coast to coast in hopes of getting attention for brain injury and donations flowing to research groups. I also hope I can get the media involved and possibly get more sponsors, so I can continue on that path for years to come. A book would be nice. However, my English is really bad, so I am looking for a ghostwriter. My hope is that I can keep going and prove that “disabled” does not mean that someone is incapable of great things. That aspect is aimed at all those who give up.

19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.

I have to say no, but I may be wrong. As I have said to others, when you accept “broken” as a status, you will always be broken. You need always to push for a want. Nothing is impossible, but life is a pathway of obstacles. You will at times just have to step back and find another way. For when you give up trying, that is the point in the life that you have willfully chosen to be in the broken state.

20. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors?

Fight for what you want. Ask others for help, and keep your eyes on the goal. Never give in to defeat. My personal view is that I will do this or die trying. Not to sound morbid, but the idea is that if you try your entire life, you are living life – not letting life live you.

Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

I hope that some of you see my ride as I post my routes and progress in 2015 and show up if you’re near. Nothing is better than seeing others involved and having the support. I will be personally calling media stations I can find numbers to, but getting calls from others, sharing photos on Facebook, etc. would be a great help. The more exposure and media I get, the more we can educate the public and force the politicians to move on fixing the issues.


You can learn more about Daniel at the following sites.

TBI to Victory

TBI Rider

Double Cross-Country Bicycle Ride Will Challenge New Jersey TBI Athlete

 Stroll ‘N Roll With Kessler Foundation at Verona Park

Daniel Mollino - TBI Survivor & Sky Diver

Daniel Mollino – TBI Survivor & Sky Diver



Thank you, Daniel, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

(Photos compliments of Daniel.)

If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

Comments on: "Survivor’s SPEAK OUT! – Daniel Mollino" (14)

  1. Daniel, you’re a great inspiration. Thanks for sharing what so many of us TBI survivors experience, but often think we are alone with them: fatigue, difficulty finding words, trouble with loud environments, and others not understanding the nuances of a TBI. Those are some of my greatest challenges, even more than 11 years after my TBI. Please keep us posted on about your adventures. I’ll be sure to check out your various websites, and please feel free to take a look at mine: melissacronin.com. Thanks, again!


    • Melissa,

      Thank you so much for responding to Daniel. I, too, am looking forward to following his trip across country. What an adventure!

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


    • Thank you for the comment, I will be keeping updates on my cross country ride through both my Tbirider.com and http://www.facebook.com/tbirider pages.

      Currently I am working on getting media contacts. As you said many do not understand all the nuances of living post TBI, and that is a larger part of my ride.

      If some should be on my route I always welcome company.


  2. I love your outlook! I think it is funny how everyone differs on how they come to terms with living with a brain injury. I think of myself as being “broken” but am trying to fix it! Thank you for sharing and good luck with your challenge!


    • Lizmollyoldershaw,

      It has made living with TBI easier when my husband and I both came to terms with his TBI. That’s not to say that we give up. No way! But we try to make the most out of what we have and to improve on that every day. I hope you won’t look at yourself as “broken,” but just different. Good luck in your healing process.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Donna for getting back to me so quickly! I am thinking of having a TBI section on my blog (www.mybrokenbrain.org) and was wondering if I could perhaps link to your site?
        I will try not to think of myself as broken, but it is easier said than done!


      • lizmollyoldershaw,

        Oh, I want to look at your blog too. There can never be too many blogs on brain injury. Yes, of course, you can link back to my blog. I am flattered.
        I know it may be hard to not think of your brain as “broken,” but they say practice makes perfect. Your brain is just different and you can try to capitalize on that. Good luck and best wishes.

        Donna O’Donnell Figurski


      • Thank you Donna, im going to make some changes and alterations over the weekend to my blog and will make a link to yours, if you have a picture you would like me to use please email it to me! Oldershaw.elizabeth@gmail.com


      • Liz,
        Sorry I didn’t see this message sooner. I sent you an email with the photo you requested and a short Bio. You can use it, if you want to. I also sent you several questions. I will look for your reply. Thank you again for your interest.

        Donna O’Donnell Figurski

        Liked by 1 person

    • Think of not yourself as broken but the road in front has a speed bump to your destination. Be dedicated to the end goal, help others on the way, and you will realize your life is amazing and your goal achieved.

      I thought of the same thing however, fixing it, but I came to realize nothing was broken as my spirit was there and my dedication to do something still existed.

      kind of related to http://www.tbirider.com/?p=157 on my site.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, Daniel. I always call it a “Another Fork in the Road,” which is why I called my radio show on the Brain Injury Radio Network by that name. Life is always throwing forks in the road or speed bumps or some kinds of detours. One may as well take the alternate path with anticipation and see where it leads. Well, actually, sometimes one doesn’t have a choice.

        Donna O’Donnell Figurski


      • Just read it and I must say, you are right in saying that there are some “positives”. I try my best to use what I have been through to help others too and am slowly learning to love my “broken” brain.

        Would it be ok to link your blog to mine? Im thinking of having a section on TBI as it seems the outcomes are often very similar?


  3. Lizmollyoldershaw you are welcome to link to my blog any time you wish, same for my website, and facebook page http://www.facebook.com/tbitovictory


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