March 8 of last year I went on a training ride with a buddy, and got cut off by a car at a T-intersection. I hit the car going close to 40 mph. Instantly knocked into a coma for a month, broken cheek, nose, collarbone, and separated my shoulder (not the same as dislocation). And I had a collapsed lung, which did not help when I caught pneumonia while in the coma. Had to relearn how to walk, and pretty much how to function in daily life again. I'm leaving this vague so I don't write a wall of text, but any questions ask away! I don't work anymore so I'll be here on and off all day.

An small album for proof

EDIT 1: I should have made it more clear, I was on a bicycle, not a motorcycle.

Comments: 955 • Responses: 85  • Date: 

do_0b481 karma

After putting my head through a windshield from the outside going in, and waking up with an acute subdural hematoma, torn optic nerve, and near-total amnesia, I know them feels. Traumatic head injuries kind of don't ever go away, even once you can function "fully" again. Just being real with you... you may have ongoing memory challenges. You may have bad headaches for years to come. You may potentially develop seizures over time. If you ever want to talk it through with someone who has been there, you're welcome to message me. Good luck in your journey.

edit: Here's a pic WARNING: freshly sewn up injury / gore?

edit 2: wait, what? 52 downvotes before I posted the picture even. What in the... ? Oh, thanks TehGogglesDoNothing.

HannahSlamma191 karma

I can relate as well. Got kicked in the head by a horse when I was 10 or so. Can't remember my childhood hardly at all. I've become extremely meticulous about the way I do things so I do not forget anything. Short-term memory has become very difficult since the injury and long-term has become almost non-existent in the time before the injury. And if/when I cry I am prone to painful headaches to all out migraines. My theory is that the area of the brain behind my sinus cavity was jostled, since the horse kicked me right in the forehead and spiderweb-fractured my entire skull.

I am here and willing to talk to you as well, about how it can affect your life, and especially about people's perceptions. This happened to me in elementary school, and children can be quite cruel to someone misses a month of school and comes back with a horrific scar. However, I can tell you it gets so much better. Time and vitamin E oil on the scar made it nearly unnoticeable. It's still 2 inches long and down my forehead, but people don't notice anymore, they notice me. Make sure your self is what they see, and any handicaps/scars/injuries will be no more than a fleeting detail to those who matter in life.

JrDot13118 karma

I'm so meticulous too! And my apt. is spotless lol, even a small mess will bug me.

wekillpirates299 karma

Was it like a "lights out, and suddenly it's a month later" situation? Glad you're doing better now, and happy anniversary!

JrDot13560 karma

No. My memory was awful when I woke up, and it's still got some gaping holes from ~2011/12/the first couple months of 2013. I though I had gone to bed some night near xmas 2011, and now it was 2013. But it's gradually filled in over the last year. I'm a very visual person, I'll see something and be like "Oh yeah!" and a big chunk will flood back, I just need that trigger.

Baschoen2318 karma

So you find that visuals bring back the most memory for you? How does that compare to smells and sounds in regards to memory recovery?

Thanks and good luck, don't give up trying to recover one hundred percent either. I had nerve damage in my right arm last year and was told that use might never return and would most definitely not return without strenuous rehabilitation. Six months later, without a touch of rehab, I suddenly had use of it again. Our bodies are amazing, almost to a point of disbelief at times. Never stop fighting. Also, have you looked into mineral collecting? I hear its all the rage for people trying to keep busy at home..

JrDot1313 karma

It's been only visuals for me.

moonshyne27171 karma

Was your personality (temper, impulse control, etc.) affected at all by the TBI?

JrDot13276 karma

Actually, no. Mentally I'm all here except for some memory loss. The year prior to injury is really foggy and patchy. And my short term used to better. But otherwise I'm the same albeit more mature. I wasn't immature before, but I was thrust into a situation where I needed to be very grown up and self-controlled. I learned to how to deal with all my handicaps, and all of a sudden I had X amount of money to last 60+ years because I can't work anymore.

mouthfullofspiders83 karma

Why exactly can't you work anymore? Functioning at 95% is far higher than many people in the workforce.

JrDot13175 karma

LOL. My walking is far from perfect (as in I do not fill glasses all the way with liquid unless I want to spill), and I don't have full mobility or strength in my left arm. I also have dysarthria and some short term memory loss.

brandoncito277 karma

I had a TBI too and I've experienced the same issue. Was your sense of smell affected at all?

JrDot138 karma


buCk--16 karma

There are still jobs you can do. There's no reason to just give up, unless you want to just sit home and collect disability for the rest of your life in which case more power to you I guess.

JrDot1313 karma

Jobs like what? Bikes were my passion, hell I even worked at a bike shop. It takes some time to adjust to all this, I'm in no hurry. I do get bored sometimes though.

Theist1730 karma

So, about the money, have you hooked up with a financial planner to figure all that out, or have you done this all yourself?

JrDot1344 karma

Lawyer is negotiating the bills down now. But I don't want to pay a planner when I've got all day to teach myself. I don't think I can afford one anyways.

Enzeder105 karma

Glad to see you're ok. Was your buddy injured at all?

JrDot13214 karma

No, he narrowly escaped. Thank goodness too, he used to be an EMT and stabilized me while I seized on the spot waiting for the ambulance.

Enzeder86 karma

What about the people in the car that cut you off?

JrDot13210 karma

It was an elderly man, and thank goodness he stayed and took full blame, so I got an insurance settlement. I've never met him though, my dad wouldn't let anybody visit me when I first woke up and was at the hospital, and I live in a different city now.

simplyOriginal23 karma

Excuse me for being intrusive, but may I ask how much the settlement was?

JrDot1335 karma


SourAbootLife12 karma

Are you frustrated that you can't work anymore? (With your buddies having to work jobs that are the same age as you) or are you plenty happy to just have the money?

JrDot1321 karma

It's a bit frustrating. The money's nice, but I did not see my life taking this turn.

Lunchbawks71878 karma

That works out to less than a teachers salary per year for 60 years. That kind of sucks. Seems like you have good people there to help you though from reading some of your other responses! Keep your head up and power on!!

JrDot1328 karma

If I just throw it in the bank yes, that is very little. But I can invest it and live comfortably. Not rich, but enough.

HeyBroh97 karma

Did you hear anything while in a coma?

JrDot13112 karma


fwiskers54 karma

At what percentage are do you think your functioning? Planning a full recovery?

JrDot1376 karma

Um...95%? I am completely independent now, in that I don't assistance for any daily tasks. I can't drive though, which can be annoying. I've made just about all of my recovery so far, my progress plateaued in September. I don't have full mobility in my left arm because of the messed up shoulder, and a bit of tone in that arm. Also a little bit of spasticity in my left leg.

fwiskers29 karma

That's still pretty fantastic considering what u went through. Good luck and make it to 100!

JrDot1353 karma

For real. My age (I was 23 at the time) helped a lot there, that I was in shape because I rode my bike A LOT (had sold my car a few years ago, 20-40 miles a day plus I wanted to start racing last year so I also trained), and I ate/eat healthy too.

Quackadilly17 karma

I was hit while training a few years back, luckily my head never hit the ground, I just ended up with some joint issues. Are you able to ride? Will you be able to train again?

JrDot1337 karma

I don't know, working on it though.

Vinkelslip44 karma

Did it feel like a lot of time had passed when you woke up or just the same as a nights sleep?

JrDot1367 karma

Nights sleep. My memory was soo spotty at the beginning too so that didn't help.

WhosaWhatsa41 karma

Thank you very much for the AMA. What's the most positive outcome of this tragic situation for you?

JrDot1365 karma

My settlement. It's not huge, but enough to cover all my bills and invest and live off of.

WhosaWhatsa21 karma

That's excellent to hear! Has your outlook been affected positively at all?

Thanks again.

JrDot1348 karma

I'm now intimately aware that everything is temporary, so you gotta make the most with what you have.

AnIngeniousParadox33 karma

Have you struggled with talking since the accident? If so, what was something that helped you to communicate better?

JrDot1355 karma

I do have mild dysarthria. It's not terrible though, I'm understandable. Sometimes I have to repeat myself, but not often.

amelioration19 karma

As an SLP grad student I'm interested in hearing more about your perceptions of your dysarthria, and what type did they diagnose you with?

JrDot1329 karma

There's types?

Meowitsme32 karma

Are you able to work ?

Obviously being able to walk and regain 95% of your mobility is a huge accomplishment. Do you have any other goals in the near or distant future as a result of your experience?

JrDot1352 karma

I can't work. My walking is far from perfect and I can't support much weight in my left arm. I also have mild dysarthria so that rules out customer service.

Goals I'm not sure. Still adjusting to life as a cripple lol.

RivahLiving14 karma

A comment and a question. First, a friend if mind was a professional snowmobile stunt rider sponsored by a major energy drink who injured his spine to the point that he is now paraplegic. His recovery an rediscovery of his love of the sport and how to present it in a different way is truly inspiring. He is now a spokesman for a robotic limb manufacturer, hosts sporting events, and speaks to people about recovery after traumatic injury. You're Experiencing the shock of rediscovery. Embrace it and a new path will lay out before you. Remember that prophesies are self-fulfilling. Question: Did you find that your tastes had changed regarding foods you formerly liked/disliked?

JrDot133 karma


PhysicDK20 karma

As a PT it's good to hear about the cases that end well. Unfortunately i see a lot of patients who aren't so lucky. How do you remember first waking up? It must be a lot to take in at once.

JrDot1335 karma

It was a lot. The first two weeksish after I woke up I wasn't making memories yet so I don't remember that all. Somehow though when I first started to remember I knew that I had been in a coma, I don't recall any sort of "breakdown" like one would expect. It's like your whole life gets thrown into a blender.

Varmit16 karma

Were you wearing a helmet during the crash?

Glad you're doing well!

JrDot1331 karma

Yes, only reason I survived

Burnnzy14 karma

Glad you're okay man and making amazing progress! Have a friend who is now paralyzed from an accident. From him telling me what his doctors say about walking again I would like to know what kind of help/motivation you had/would give on learning how to walk again. Thanks.

JrDot1321 karma

It's not easy that's for sure. I had a walker for a while and then a gait belt before I was freed. Fell a few times. But when you're determined, you'll do whatever it takes to improve. It's a long road, but it is possible.

whoo-PAH13 karma

I am a grad student studying the neuropsychology of TBI, and I work on a sub-acute TBI recovery unit. A lot of my patients are just coming out of comas/PTA and trying to emotionally deal with their new limitations, pain, cognitive deficits, etc. Any advice for me as a therapist? What helped you to recover, what annoyed you the most? Congrats on your recovery, and best of luck in the future!

JrDot138 karma

Just always be kind and patient with them. Everyone I dealt with was really nice to me. And they grew to learn just how much I could take, just how hard they could push me and what I was willing to try. Having daily structure was nice too. I knew that I had therapy and stuff all day, but the night to myself to do whatever I felt like/relax.

DragonbornAgain10 karma

How is your memory now, after the incident? Did much change in the way you think about things now?

JrDot1316 karma

It's better. I do have some short term issues, but it could be worse. Not much changed in how I think really, except I'm super "mature" (I don't know what else to call it). Suddenly you become intimate with the fact that EVERYTHING is temporary.

Sceal9 karma

Hello thank you for doing this. A good friend of mine was just involved in a similar situation. What was you Glasgow Coma Scale score after the accident?

JrDot1311 karma

I don't know, never heard it. I just found out about the scale last week actually.

Stillhighinprison4209 karma

Has there been any positive from this situation? Besides the fact that you now have a fantastic story to tell.

JrDot1328 karma

I went from being dirt poor to comfortable "overnight". The guy at least stayed and took full blame and had a decent insurance policy. So my ridiculous medical bills (about $500k) are all paid for and I have a good chunk to invest and live off of for the rest of my life. I'm not rich, no, but I should have enough.

WalterWhitesHat7 karma

What's your favourite cheese?

JrDot139 karma

Really sharp or Pepperjack. It's gotta be spicy though

scratch7417 karma

You said it's not the same as dislocating, so what exactly does separating your shoulder mean?

JrDot1313 karma

I tore all the ligaments that hold it in place, and those don't grow back. So my left side is slightly (~1-2 inches) down from my right. It's permanently out of socket, so I don't have full mobility on that side.

BinaryMn7 karma

I got t-boned by a taxi at 40MPH while on my bike last year. I survived with a broken ankle. Damn.

P.S. the bike didn't survive.

JrDot134 karma

My bike didn't either...:( It was new to me that day, hadn't even paid for it yet, it was my first ride on it!

Tuxeedo6 karma

Say I was to receive a traumatic brain injury tomorrow, what advice would you give me?

JrDot1310 karma

Hard to say because it affects everyone so differently. Once you know your situation, put your head down and work hard. REAL hard. Nobody and hand you your life back on a silver platter even if they want to.

chofortu6 karma

So wait... were you on a motorcycle or a bicycle? Because 40 mph seems a lot for a pedal bike, but you mentioned that you were in shape because you rode a lot, which I didn't think would apply to a motorbike.

JrDot1313 karma

Bicycle. I know, that is damn fast for a pedal bike. But yeah, I rode a lot. And it was a training ride, otherwise I would have been by myself and dead right now. I was looking to try my hand at racing last year, so I was pushing myself.

Cabagekiller3 karma

Were you wearing a helmet? Crashed a motorcycle into a tree after someone cut me off. Shattered my helmet, was going 45 maybe? The dude darted I guess. But it didn't do too much damage I think. But still had to work the next day and I couldn't remember QN order for the life of me.

JrDot133 karma

Yeah I was

uppitycrip6 karma

Hey OP, not really the same thing as what you went thru but I was born with brain damage as a result of being born breach, Cerebral Palsy, but you seem to have gooten a great deal of function back. Weird question: do you use fish oil supplements as the Omega 3 fatty acids promote neuro growth? I had loads of therapy as a kid and somehow despite my brain damage, my intelligence was left fine, actually test gifted, went to college,etc. Hardest part for me is that everyone thinks I'm retarded until they hear me talk and (hopefully) they understand.

JrDot137 karma

I don't. I eat high fat, low carb. So I get those omega-3's

SmoovyJ5 karma

Were you wearing a helmet? Would you encourage others to not take up road bikes due to dangers such as the one you encountered, or do you think it is just one of those risks in life like driving a car?

JrDot133 karma

I was wearing a helmet. It's just a risk, albeit a very small one. I am just stupidly lucky that I'm not worse really.

UniformCode5 karma

Do we need healthcare reform and why? Also, how were you able to pay for whatever costs, if any, not covered by insurance?

Also, do we need legal reform? Did you have a lawyer? How did he or she do on your case? Did your lawyer communicate satisfactorily with you?

I work in law and medicine, I like to know what people think in situations like this.

JrDot1312 karma

All my bills are paid thanks to my settlement, otherwise I would be buried under them. I can't really offer an opinion on reform because I haven't looked into it too much. I do know that it's insanely expensive though, for anything.

I did have a lawyer though. My father actually knew him from before so that was perfect. He did/does communicate very well, which I have very much appreciated. He's done well though. Gone to great lengths to help me, really earned what I'm paying him. He's even trying to get the Dept. of Ed to forgive my student loans (only 4500) since they are garnishing my SSDI and I need that.

UniformCode4 karma

Lawyer sounds top notch.

JrDot136 karma

I'm very happy with how he's done.

throwaway6899084 karma

How long did it take before you regained your proper personality and memories? I'm happy for you, mate.

On a side note, I only asked this because of what happened recently to my childhood hero, Michael Schumacher.

Good luck for the future!

JrDot134 karma

It was a process, it came in chunks. Not all at once.

varooommm3 karma

Congratulations! As a brain injury researcher, it's great to see someone who has made excellent progress on their recovery. Too often have I had to look at the scans of patients who have had seemingly minor TBIs only to have major loss in functioning with no chance at recovery - I'm glad to know that, despite the odds, you've made it back to functioning daily. I've nothing much to ask, but would just like to say, "Cheers!"

Can you recount your recovery and rehabilitation? I'm focusing on new neurorehabilitation methods and I'd love to hear your story!

JrDot138 karma

I spent almost 7 month at QLI in Omaha, NE. I lived on campus there, and did therapy and activities from 8 AM to 5 PM, 5 days a week. It was intensive, but that first 6 months - a year is critical, I feel like that's where anyone will make the most progress. I saw a PT, OT, ST multiple times a week, along with others. I also did as much independently in my room as I could. I knew where I wanted to be and was willing to bust my ass to get there. Sometimes I would play Lumosity memory games to help me sharpen that area. Or read an article online out loud and work on speaking clearly, or stretch various muscles, do pushups (it sounds silly but it helps stretch out and strengthen my left shoulder).

Megg4sure3 karma

Do you ever get random aches or pains from the impact? Or even flashbacks?

JrDot135 karma

Haven't had a flashback, so that's nice. I don't mind missing that bit. No aches or pains either, although I do need to stretch more otherwise I get tight, especially on my left side.

suddoman3 karma

What did you do for the anniversary?

JrDot133 karma

I made reservations at this super nice steakhouse I've heard people rave about for dinner. I bought a cheap bottle of wine for tonight too.

tw3rkules3 karma

As a brain injury therapist, I think it is wonderful that you're answering questions! So many people have them and have no forum to find out. I'm glad you made it out ok and that you're doing so well! With all of the clients I work with, some are 30 years post - injury and still making progress.

As for the dysarthria, what type of therapies and strategies do you use to work around it?

JrDot133 karma

Mostly just reading out loud and focusing on clear speaking. If something isn't good coming out, I repeat.

ElGranKahuna3 karma

Glad you're ok OP! Cognitive impairments are super common with TBI and it sounds like you dodged a lot of those, except for the memory.

Did you have any speech therapy after the accident?

Also, there are several different types of dysarthria. Are you aware of which kind you have?

In terms of the memory problems, have you developed a system to compensate?

JrDot133 karma

Oh yes plenty of speech therapy. I didn't know there were different types of dysarthria, so no lol. I use my iPhone to take notes and keep a calendar. If I want/need to remember something, it goes in my phone.

ghonnaherpasyphilaid3 karma

What was your families first reactions to the news, after seeing you, etc.

And how did they chip in to help your progress in recovery thus far?

Thanks for doing the AMA!!

JrDot136 karma

Luckily I only lived 50 miles away from where my dad lives and where I used to live as a kid. He's been very supportive. I know that everyone took it really hard at first, but they are glad I've made such insane progress. I was hooked up to a lot of machines in ICU, and needed a lot of assistance at first. The law requires him to be my legal guardian and conservator for a few months still because at first I couldn't speak/act for myself with a clear head, and to make sure I don't go and blow my whole settlement. But we have a good relationship.

JaneAusten_Powers2 karma

Have you noticed any changes in the taste of certain foods or experienced a sudden intolerance for things you used to be able to eat?

JrDot133 karma

Nope, I have begun to really like celery though, which I used to hate.

nevralone2 karma

Woah man. How's the short term memory coping?

JrDot133 karma

I utilize my iPhone a good amount. Make notes to myself for all kinds of stuff.

heyjoe_2 karma

do you feel like you can teach people things more effectively now that you've had to re-learn one of the most basic human actions?

JrDot134 karma

Possibly. You really figure out how to break everything down to its' most basic parts.

TheBellman2 karma

Are you able to ride a bicycle or something like a recumbent tricycle?

JrDot133 karma

I'll be getting a recumbent trike in the spring. I have my old bike in a trainer to work out too.

jaredmatterfis2 karma

What do you enjoy doing in your free time now

JrDot133 karma

Watching TV/movies, playing my ps4. Although I'm nowhere near as good as I used to be at them. My left hand has quite a bit of tone from being clenched so hard nobody could force it open while in the coma. Even now, it's a little tight.

Lucy_Smith2 karma

When you were in a coma did you have dreams or anything? Or is it just totally blank?

JrDot133 karma


Thecoolgut2 karma

Do you get disrespect from people that don't know what you've gone through? For the way I assume you walk (not very fast and a little laggy?), or anything else the accident would've caused? If so, there will be some ass-kicking's to be handed out. By me. :)

JrDot132 karma

Your assumption is correct. Not really any disrespect though, more curiosity.

LT21Titans271 karma

Do you out the doctors expect your waking or arm use to ever get back to normal or will there always be a notable kink in the store so to speak. Picking up any new hobbies since you can't work?

JrDot132 karma

There will always be a kink likely. My walking will get better as I build muscle back in my left side, but it's hard to say just how much. Won't get mobility back in my arm ever because it's out of place and simply won't move the way the other one will.

dahemmi1 karma

How do you cope mentally with life with a disability? I have also been disabled for a year (permanently) and struggle with some major depression at times.

JrDot132 karma

I don't know, hard to say specifically. Sure I get a bit down sometimes but never had an issue with depression. Of course, I had to alter my life quite a bit, but I can't really complain that much with the tons of progress I have made. I knew that nothing in life was free, if I wanted something I had to go and earn it.

irregularchoices1 karma

Congratulations! Neuro rehab is such a huge mountain to climb. You've done so well!

My dad had a huge haemorrhage following brain surgery in May 2013. He is paralyzed down the right side, has no short term memory and can't talk. Depression seems to have taken away any inclination he has to progress in rehab. How did you find the right mindset to overcome your challenges and how did the people around you help with that?

JrDot132 karma

I've always been very stubborn. I wasn't how I wanted to be, so I was willing to work hard for what I wanted. People definitely help with their support.

OfferChakon1 karma

Hey, glad to hear you're doing well. A few years back my brother fell off an interstate overpass an was in a coma for a few months. He recalls having a weird dream around the time he woke up. In his dream him and I were in the basement of a supermarket for a good long time and were trying to get our money back from some machine that was refusing to give us the cotton candy we paid it for (he's weird as hell) anyways, my question is do you recall having any strange dreams? My brother didn't really remember it right away and when he told people about it (that were there) they said they remembered him mumbling and swearing consistent with his dreams.

JrDot133 karma

My first couple weeks the only memory I have is being in 5 or 6 different hospitals even though I was definitely only in 1. Dream is a good word for it, thank you! It's weird.

sarcasmplease1 karma

About a year and a half ago a man in Washington, DC was brutally beaten and robbed. He suffered a TBI amongst other injuries. His wife wrote a blog detailing his recovery and the struggles she was facing as a result. I knew nothing about TBIs before her blog. Now I have an understanding of them and am completely fascinated by how the brain works. Do you suffer from aphasia as a result of the TBI? I was wondering how old you are b/c I couldn't tell from the photos. Best wishes in your continuing recovery. I for one would love to see a future update on here from you with how you're doing.

JrDot132 karma

I'm 24, this was when I was 23.

cw4849121 karma

How much were hospital costs?

JrDot135 karma

~$200k plus ~$250k for the rehab facility I was at for 7 months.

TrevorReznik041 karma

Sorry to be naive but what is a training ride?

JrDot132 karma

Fast paced bike ride where you focus on pushing yourself. Can practice pace lines, stamina, etc.

MinniePearl1 karma

Are you in the USA?

JrDot132 karma

Yeah, in NE

juusukun-1 karma

Do you plan on working towards returning to a regular lifestyle? Given the choice between using your injuries as a crutch and as an excuse to live the rest of your life on disability, and seeing it as a challenge to overcome, what would you choose? Now, if you were in a situation where there was absolutely nothing you could do no matter how hard you try, that's different.

I'm curious, because I try to imagine myself in such a position, I think at first I might want help from others just to get used to the situation, I am a very independent guy and I like to be able to do things myself, I don't like to burden others, so it wouldn't be for long/

I might not be as curious about one's outlook on things in such a situation, if it were not for someone who used to be a friend of mine who had a brain injury due to a drug overdose (and uses his disability money to still do drugs even hard ones today, while his parents feed him and he's in his 30s too). Some people just don't learn it seems.

JrDot132 karma

As much as we may hate our jobs, it does get boring. I would like to eventually get back to work, of course, but I'm glad disability is there until I do.

I_Tickle_Niggers_-2 karma

What's 2+2 ?

JrDot133 karma

4 lol. Mentally I'm all here except some memory loss.

I_Tickle_Niggers_1 karma

Did your drawing/artistic ability get better, worse or stay the same?

JrDot132 karma

Stayed the same in that it never existed lol.