TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Marc Tima

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.

Marc Tima (survivor)

Marc Tima 1 Survivor 090715Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a crazy, life-changing event. When I was fourteen years old, I was in a pretty bad car accident, in which I suffered a TBI. I was life-flighted to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. I was in a coma for about three weeks. My doctors prepared my parents for my remaining in a vegetative state. God, my family, and I had other plans. At one point, the doctor told my parents that if she were a betting woman, she would not bet on my chances. My mother was in tears and began to weep. My father, on the other hand, said, “I’ll take that bet, and my son will prove you wrong.”

I spent three months in the Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh. After my rehab, I was barely able to start my tenth-grade year of high school. Instead of getting As and Bs like I used to, I scraped by with Cs and Ds. During my coma, my entire body atrophied. Instead of being a top football and basketball player, I was made a team manager for football and basketball. I spent much of high school crying because of my shortcomings. But, I cried to myself in my room. I also spent every free second I had working out and getting stronger. By my junior year, I was able to get back on the football team. My coaches were worried about my getting injured again, so they would not let me play in the varsity games. I spent my eleventh-grade football career on the scrub team. During practice, I would outplay all the seniors who were able to play varsity. My grades were still very poor, but my short-term memory was improving little by little. By the time I was a senior, I was a starter for football and a top defensive player in western Pennsylvania. My grades were still poor, but they were improving. I got recruited to play football for Duquesne University. Though my high school grades were poor, they let me into Duquesne Marc Tima 2 Survivor 090715because of my football and some heavy pleading from my mother.

Anyway, the hits in college football were too hard for my head. So, I had to give up football. I stayed at Duquesne, though, and earned my degree. I worked extremely hard in high school to earn Cs and Ds. At Duquesne, I worked just as hard, but now I was getting As and Bs. In fact, when I graduated from Duquesne on the Dean’s List, my parents contacted that doctor who bet against my father on my recovery. He showed her my academic record at Duquesne. And, she took my parents out to dinner as payment for losing the bet she made with my dad.

I now have a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, own an “Anytime Fitness” in Ohio, and am a personal trainer. Several of my clients are TBI survivors, whom I help with their recoveries.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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