Mark's Story

Traumatic brain injury

Mark Morgan is an avid motorcycle rider. He’d been on countless rides over the years without a single issue. However, on one fall day, Mark lost control of his bike, skidded off the road and hit a tree. He also wasn’t wearing a helmet.

In the field, he was reported as a “three” on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS scale ranges from zero-15, the lower the number, the worse the injury. Anything under eight is considered severe. Mark’s condition was extremely severe. At the scene of the accident, he was unresponsive with no noted movement in his arms and legs.

Mark underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding, had his spleen removed and was found to have a broken neck along with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He was in the hospital at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine for more than 30 days before being stabilized for the next level of recovery which would require intense rehabilitation. His next step would be the Day Neuro Program at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Fort Worth.

On Mark’s first day of therapy, he was very agitated, anxious and difficult to engage. He would often experience delusions as a result of the brain injury. For instance, he would ask his therapist to hold the pencil that he had in his hand, when in reality, there was no pencil. Initially he avoided participating in therapy due to anxiety. These types of delusions and agitation are common following a severe brain injury. Mark’s rehabilitation team patiently and methodically took him through cognitive therapy and slowly, Mark’s agitation began to fade.

With that, he was more receptive to participating in therapy, but still required frequent redirection and reality orientation as his delusions were still occurring. This also made walking difficult as he would often try to walk through objects.

Upon admission, Mark could only walk about 900 feet. Additionally, he did not have use of his right hand and arm causing significant executive functioning deficits. He struggled with problem solving, planning, and completing simple tasks like brushing his teeth without assistance. However, for these types of injuries persistence is key and the Day Neuro Program was designed for patients like Mark who required intensive therapies over an extended period of time.

That persistence paid off. Mark received therapy five days a week, for two months. As his sessions wrapped, Mark could walk 1500 feet in six minutes, was able to use his right arm and do daily activities such as dishes and cleaning the house without assistance. Most important, Mark was also able to return to work full time, eventually starting his own carpet cleaning company.

Looking back on his TBI one year following graduation from the Day Neuro Program, Mark called his injury a blessing in disguise, stating, “I know I was a pain in the beginning of rehab. I am so blessed and glad my therapy team stuck with me to help me get better. In some ways, I think my TBI was a good thing because I am now more determined to grow in faith and knowledge. I am also 15 months sober.”

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