TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Sissy Smith and Alan Gammon

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!


It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.

The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.

On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.

The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.

If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

11195554_823391991029685_760869837_nSissy Smith (survivor)

I had a wreck in October 2014. It was caused by a stroke, and I wasn’t responding when they cut me out. I was airlifted to a hospital. They stitched my head in four Smith, Sissy Survivor Hospital 072015places and gave me a trach (a tube inserted into a hole made in the trachea to ease breathing).Smith, Sissy Survivor Pre-Tbi 072015 I was in a coma. I had facial fractures and broken ribs. I also broke my shoulder. I was in the Intensive Care Unit for a month and in rehab two weeks. But, I am a survivor – a miracle. I am blessed!

Alan Gammon (survivor)

Gammon, Alan Survivor 1 072015
I was coming home when I came upon a 1991 Ford Ranger that was going off the road. The truck over-corrected, came across the road, and hit my pick-up truck head on.Gammon, Alan Survivor Vehicle 072015attachment-4

It took the emergency crew over 45 minutes to cut me out of my truck. The guy’s Ranger had hit me so hard that the dashboard pushed my feet through the floorboard, pinning me in. If I had had my seat belt on, the steering wheel would have crushed my chest. I was cut out of the car, and during this process, I died. My heart stopped three times between the accident and the Med-Flight to the hospital. My injuries included a leg broken in two places, a broken jaw, a broken arm, two ruptured lungs, and a grade-3 brain trauma. The doctors said I was in the deepest “survivable” coma. I was not expected to make it through the night or to wake at all. So, they ushered my family into my room with a chaplain. Due to a lot of hope, faith, and prayers, I woke up a week later in the Medical College of Virginia Neurological Intensive Care Unit and recovered to the best of my ability.

The driver of the Ford Ranger later admitted to an officer of having drunk twelve-fourteen beers that day while fishing on the river. The man was given a reckless-driving ticket, which was later reduced to “improper driving.” Because of his decision to drink and drive, I had to be cut out of my car by the jaws-of-life.Gammon, Alan, Survivor Hospital 072015 attachment-2-1

On that July 5th, I died, and ever since that day, I have woken as someone else. I am unable to work, and I have no short-term memory. Every day that I wake up is a totally different day – but all still a blessing.

To read the original article about Alan and see additional photos, go to Disabled Magazine.


Disclaimer: Any views and opinions of the Contributors are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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