My Experience After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Article Index
My Experience After a Traumatic Brain Injury
My Hospitalization
Back to Work After TBI
My Inpatient Psychiatry Experience
Back At Work Again
My Experience with the Medical Community
Why the BIC?
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I went bike riding on June 30, 1992 and I wasn’t wearing a helmet.  I had been looking at helmets at a bike shop in my local mall, approximately 2 miles round trip on my bike.  I had just gotten back in to cycling and the helmet I purchased with my red Schwinn road bike got misplaced in my move.

The helmet I was looking at was around $100.00. It was red, white and blue. No matter the cost of a helmet, they must meet specific standards. For current information about helmets visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.  My brain injury cost me much more than a helmet.  I regret not purchasing a cheaper helmet until I could afford the helmet I wanted.

According to a witness, I got off my bike in the middle of an intersection, took one step and fell like I was shot. It's unclear why I lost consciousness; I may have had a seizure, although I did not have a known seizure disorder. I was under a lot of stress dealing with a difficult situation at my place of employment and I strongly believe I passed out from stress.

I had a Glasgow Coma Score of 4 at the scene (eyes opened to pain only).  A CT Scan and Spinal Tap revealed a subdural hematoma and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

I learned the hard way – literally – the importance of wearing a bike helmet.  The asphalt didn't give, but my head did resulting in two bleeds. It changed me and my life.

NOTE: My loss of consciousness could have happened while I was driving a vehicle, from the seat of my bike, or while standing over carpeting or my bed.  I would have preferred the latter.  Since, I have been thrown from my former bike (a Schwinn road bike) twice while wearing a helmet.  The first time my bike tires got caught in a dilapidated railroad track while crossing them at a 90 degree angle and flipping me off to the side of my bike.  My helmet hit the metal track cracking the right side of my helmet. A few months later, I went over the top of the handlebars cracking the top of my helmet. Was it a problem with my bike's fork after the railroad track incident or did my wheels get caught in something?  I'll never know.  I don't recall a period of time after I hit the ground.

LESSON LEARNED: If your bike is involved in an accident, have a bicycle technician check your bicycle for damage.