My journey as a brain injury survivor

Once in a blue moon, life can take some unpredictable detours which was the case for me in 2012. Back then I was 20 years old, studying Exercise Physiology at Sydney University. I was busy working two jobs as well as being involved in an internship with Sydney University Rugby Club. I went to the gym, cycled and of course always made time for my girlfriend.

On Mother’s Day 2012, I sustained a traumatic brain injury after hitting a pothole whilst cycling and spent 18 months between Royal North Shore Hospital and Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Ryde. I eventually made it home November 2013. I don’t remember much of what happened while away from home but the videos and stories I’ve seen and heard convey the struggles my family and I have had to endure. This varied from the right side of my body being dysfunctional, I could not walk and used a powered wheelchair, I consumed liquid food through a tube into my stomach, I could not retain day to day memories, I could not talk, and I’ve had over 10 operations to my head associated with many complications.

Over the bridge!  img_Kevin_Luu_Freshtracks_profile

Today I can run, swim, cook and do all of my own daily activities. You might think I was completely normal if you saw me, however I still have challenges. I can’t drive yet. I can’t work yet. I have lost some right side peripheral vision. I take multiple medications to manage an infection. And it is not advised that I return to road cycling. There is no ‘end’ to my recovery but I will always be developing, as we all are. I’m not the exact same Kevin that I was prior to my injury – but I am a better, stronger version of myself.

In a nutshell, the best advice I can offer to those suffering from a brain injury and their families: Create a consistent support network who will try anything – this may not be possible in many circumstances but essential in my recovery. I had someone visit me every day to get a response out of me and keep me engaged. Do MORE than just the therapy you are offered. The brain is always changing and seeks repetition to rewire. I was kept busy with puzzles, blowing bubbles, singing, boxing, sitting to standing/exercises, table tennis – anything to get me using my body systems.

Have hope, keep trying, because changes can happen extremely slowly but the potential outcome is worth the time and hard work!

If anyone, brain injury survivor or family member/friend would like to chat with me, find out more about my recovery, I’d be more than happy to share my journey.

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