Every year, the University of Virginia Health System’s Traumatic Brain Injury Support Team hosts a brain injury awareness event and panel discussion. The 2010 event was held on April 14 at the Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center. Neuropsychologist Peter Patrick, PhD, gave a presentation on the long-term developmental effects of pediatric brain injury. Additionally, two traumatic brain injury survivors and their mothers shared their experiences during a panel discussion.
When Chandler Brown graduated from high school in June 2009, he couldn’t wait to move out of his parents’ house. The 18-year-old Harrisonburg resident soon did just that and found a job at a bookstore. But Brown’s life changed on October 23, when he skidded while driving on a wet patch of narrow road, overcorrected and struck a tree.
Brown was rushed to Rockingham Memorial Hospital and then transferred to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he spent more than three weeks in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit. Among his many injuries were several skull fractures and severe brain swelling. Brown’s mom, CeCe Rosen, recalled watching the number on his intracranial pressure monitor and hoping that it’d stay under 20; some days it was in the 30s. “We didn’t know if he would wake up or what he’d be able to do if he did,” she said.
Brown began responding to stimuli, such as having the ticklish bottom of his foot touched, and eventually progressed enough to be transferred out of intensive care. Today, he is living with his parents again, after a month in the hospital and seven weeks at the University of Virginia’s Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center. Although his parents have been amazed by his progress, he faces more outpatient and inpatient occupational therapy to re-learn how to use his left hand. The accident also left the right side of his face paralyzed, and he is blind in his right eye.