Portrait: Jeff

September 14, 2018, according to my MapMyRun, I was around 10 miles in a long run in Cambridge, MA USA when I was struck at a crosswalk by a car going 37 miles per hour.

A little bit about Jeff

Flowers in the garden that won't grow. Flowers on the train, it's not the same. Flowers in the garden, life won't grow... if we never change.

My name is Jeff and I am a traumatic brain injury survivor. It is hard to try to piece together the person I was almost two years ago, to the person that I am today.

From stories, visual cues, I guess I enjoyed fitness, Thai food, music/concerts, dates and traveling. Summer of 2018, I had committed to officially date a girl after 1 year "together." We travelled to London for a music festival, then later went to France as tourists. I have no recollection of either. This is relevant because I came home from Paris September 12, 2018. I had signed up for the 2018 New York Marathon while abroad because I wanted to push myself/achieve something big and I was in between jobs.

September 14, 2018, according to my MapMyRun, I was around 10 miles in a long run in Cambridge, MA USA, and then I was struck by a car at a crosswalk going 37 miles per hour. My head hit the car windshield, then my body flew off the car onto the opposite crosswalk, hitting my head a second time and falling into a coma.

Surviving the car accident

For 14 days, I was no longer Jeff to my family and friends. I had multiple brain surgeries, I was an unconscious body with tubes down his throat, with no life. I woke up to great shock on September 28, 2018. I was alive, but the Jeff I was once before, died forever. I was immediately driven by ambulance to a local hospital, eventually resulting in the first of three cranioplasties and a course of infections. Then, I was transferred to another hospital for inpatient rehab for 45 days, following that up with outpatient speech, OT, and PT therapies for nine months. I have spent the last two years of my life rehabilitating from my brain injury.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to have to learn how to walk, talk, eat, run, cook, love, make music, again? I have.

It took me over a month to walk unassisted, I pushed myself the hardest I ever have, and I ran again in December 2018.

I am not one to let a failed feat destroy my life, so I listened to all doctors’ orders, returned to what I truly loved when I woke up with an empty plate in front of me, and I decided to run the 2019 New York Marathon and make my first debut music album. I returned to cooking, music, time with family/friends, and followed a marathon plan with my PT who decided to run with me as my "aid" runner.

During this time, I was still in rehab daily, attending support groups and communicating with other TBI survivors globally online. I developed memory strategies, I had to get an ankle sleeve because I can't curl my left toes and my ankle is weaker, and I somehow got back my life... better yet, started my new life.

Through many physical and mental mountains, I finished outpatient rehab and ran the 2019 New York Marathon, a year after I could not walk.

After that I released my first album.

I have spoken at Harvard, BU and Simmons University to PT students about my accident and recovery, and I also have spoken many times at brain injury survivor panels.

I am now preparing to go to Tokyo for the Tokyo Marathon and then returning to Boston to complete the Abbott Six World Major Marathons a bit over 5 years since my TBI/coma/inpatient rehab this March and April.

Words of advice to other survivors

Essentially, this whole ordeal has become bigger than me. I initially wanted to return to who I was prior to my accident, but now I just want to help people with brain injuries by sharing my story and telling them

I was there... but I pushed on and I just found a new door.

The road to recovery from a severe traumatic brain injury is a road leading to a mountain top with many twists, many turns, many hills, many detours... but at the top, there is a beautiful sight. One day I hope I will see it... but today, and tomorrow my journey to the top continues.


Jeff’s inspiring story shows that, although brain injury survivors experience incredibly challenging moments, their strength to carry on and make a lasting impact is what drives them forward.

Will you help us to support people like Jeff on their onward journey? With your donation, we can continue our work to deliver practical help for those recovering from brain injuries.

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