On September 23, 1997, I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury and my life was re-directed as I was involved in an extremely serious motorcycle accident.
When the paramedics arrived at the scene of the accident I was VSA – Vital Signs Absent. I wasn’t breathing, I didn’t have a pulse, I wasn’t responsive to any stimulation and I was bleeding from my nose, ears, eyes and mouth. All signs of very serious brain damage.
They rushed me to the closest hospital to the scene of the accident, Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga. Due to the extent of my injuries I was then airlifted to St. Michael’s Trauma Hospital in Toronto.
It was at St. Michael’s Hospital where I underwent numerous life-saving surgeries.
Not only was I in a very deep coma and remained in a coma for two weeks, but I also sustained numerous life threatening internal injuries.
These injuries required the following surgeries:
I was not expected to live as a result of all these injuries. However, through my persistence and my determination as well as the support that I received I was given the gift of a second life and a second chance, which in essence was an opportunity for me to start over again.
After 2 months in the Neuro-Trauma Intensive Care Unit (ICU) my health improved enough for me to be transferred out of the ICU to a private room on the neurological floor. It was around this time that my family realized that a lawyer with expertise in the area of brain injuries would be necessary. After hearing positive reviews about Thomson Rogers, my father arranged a meeting at their Bay St. office. My father met two lawyers, Mr. Lawrence Mandel and Mr. David Tenszen, to discuss my situation. They were very helpful and informative, so much so, that my father agreed to have them represent me.
I had just finished eating lunch in my hospital room at St. Michael’s when David Tenszen, a tall, distinguished looking gentleman, walked into my room. Standing at the end of my bed, David looked at me with compassion in his eyes. His look told me he understood the hell I was going through. My father had told me about his coming visit and I knew I would have to sign a document. David handed me a pen. With my signature, David Tenszen of Thomson Rogers entered my life and proved to be a great support. From that day on he made me feel understood and respected. I was confident that David Tenszen and Thomson Rogers would represent and advocate for my rights.
The people who played a vital role in my recovery and my mission to start over were my family and the health care professionals at St. Michael’s Hospital and at Credit Valley Hospital.
My mother and father were important advocates for me and continue to be very understanding and supportive in my journey through brain damage.
My two younger brothers, Jonathan and Michael also play an important roll in my recovery.
As part of Thomson Rogers support and advocacy, David Tenszen connected me with the Ontario Brain Injury Association. As a brain injury survivor I know how important it is to feel supported through the journey of recovery. I am grateful that the Ontario Brain Injury Association was there to support me and my family.
My goal was to return to teaching. The Ontario Brain Injury Association was instrumental in reaching this goal, by inviting me to speak at many of their conferences. Allowing me to share my story and the amount of work involved with practicing my speeches helped in my recovery both physically and emotionally.
I would be remiss not to mention the tremendous support I received from my parents and two brothers.
The Ontario Brain Injury association provides support on so many levels, including their 1-800 support line, advocacy, working with children in schools and also their peer support program.
Acquired brain injury can be devastating. For those that have to deal with a brain injury first hand it can be a lifetime of frustration, hardship and isolation. OBIA believes it doesn’t have to be this way. They are committed to providing ongoing support either directly or through one of their 21 affiliated Community Associations across the province.
The Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) was founded in 1986 by families in order to assist others whose lives have been affected by acquired brain injury (ABI).
The mission of OBIA is to “enhance the lives of Ontarians living with acquired brain injury through education, awareness and support”. OBIA is dedicated to supporting both survivors of brain injury, caregivers and professionals.
Acquired brain injury can be devasting. Beyond the individual’s impairments, there can be expenses, misunderstanding and doubts. For those that have to deal with a brain injury first hand it can be a lifetime of frustration, hardship and isolation. We believe it doesn’t need to be this way. OBIA is committed to providing ongoing support either directly or through one of our 21 affiliated Community Associations across the province. Since our inception we have received over 90,000 calls on our helpline.
There is no cost associated for survivors or family members who access OBIA Support Services.
Some of our support includes:
Awareness is a major goal of the Ontario Brain Injury Association. We are committed to creating a greater awareness of the incidence and impact of acquired brain injury. Few people recognize that brain injury is the number one cause of death and disability of persons under the age of 45. In children under the age of 16, brain injury accounts for more deaths that all other causes combined.
Research Study and The OBIA Impact Report
Education and Training