As a former member of the USC track team, I have always loved running. However, I never realized how beneficial it was to me until after my life was changed by traumatic brain injury (TBI). 10 years ago, I was in the US Navy and I had my first severe TBI with a skull fracture due to an accident playing soccer after our daily Navy Training exercises. After several surgeries and many months of various therapies, I was declared “fit for duty” and went back into the Navy. Unfortunately, 3 years later while deployed, I suffered a seizure and fall resulting in another severe TBI, requiring 3 rounds of CPR before I was resuscitated and flown to the hospital where I was kept in a coma. I had 3 additional brain and skull surgeries, and about one third of my skull was replaced with a prosthesis. I was initially not expected to survive, it was uncertain whether I would talk or walk again, and ever running again seemed out of the question (so I’m told… I don’t remember any of this!). After 4 months in the hospital I was able to walk again, and during my additional 5 months of inpatient rehab I began to run again My speech and cognition did not recover as quickly as my physical abilities, but have gradually improved, though speech especially is still hard at times on most days due to a disorder called Aphasia. Since my second injury, I have run 4 marathons, and even managed a Boston qualifying time of 3:01:52. My recovery was unexpected to say the least, and although I still suffer from many unique challenges every day, running is my outlet – and according to my neurologist, it is one of the best things I can do for my brain! I am grateful to have found such wonderful trails to run on near my home, for the friends I’ve made through running, and especially for the ability to run when it once seemed to be impossible!

Congratulations to Kyle on his True to the Brew win!

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