Growing up I had a good family structure and picked wonderful friends, all of which provided me with confidence. With this, in my twenties, I became a person who always went out and worked for what I wanted. With each challenge I overcame, my confidence grew stronger. Things were going great, and with the purchase of a new home I felt successful. Looking back, however, I now realize everything happened too quickly.
Being a ‘jack of all trades’ I was doing well with many things, but I was not able to master my marriage or help fix what was wrong. I was also overwhelmed by the crazy work scheduled that I thought I could handle and I became fatigued. After confirming a proper watering schedule at Bright’s Grove I was in a serious car crash on July 6, 2007.
At the scene of the crash my Glasgow Coma Scale, which measures the level of consciousness, was 3/15. Meaning I was deeply unconscious. This lead to the diagnosis of a severe catastrophic brain injury. I also broke my C2, dislocated my right collar bone, and had a laceration on my forehead. Scans of my brain showed a small hemorrhage on the left temporal lobe, which is a part of the brain that controls language and memory. My right eye was blurry.
After many hours of testing, I was diagnosed with deficits in the areas of verbal learning and memory, expressive vocabulary, communications, reading, writing, conducting numerical operations, confrontational naming and verbal fluency.
After months of rehabilitation appointments and successful neuropsychological assessments with ‘normal’ and ‘above normal’ results, my team decided I was ready to start work at the golf course. I was hired on full time in the spring of 2009 and prepared for the year by moving close to the golf course. This made my life easier because it eliminated by commute and allowed me to regain my independence. Up until the move, I had been living with my parents so moving in February to start work in April gave me time to make a slow transition without becoming overwhelmed.
Since the car crash, one thing that has helped me to move forward has been proving the professionals wrong, and I have gained self-worth in providing people with someone to inspire them. I have living proof of the fact that things will get better and I believe that you are never given anything that you can’t handle. It is this knowledge and wisdom that allows me to discover life in every way now. Since my big mistake I’ve learned to look at things from all perspectives instead of the blind light. I’ve realized that every day is a new learning experience. I am getting back what I had before the crash, with better things, that I could never image. Now I get a huge satisfaction in life by paying it forward.
Ryan’s story from The Winds of Change book.
Fast forward 9 Years
My life is forever changed by the motor vehicle accident that occurred 9 years ago. I continue to experience word finding difficulties, I have trouble with my memory that is mostly managed through the use of my calendar, my right eye will always be blurry… BUT I am happy with the “new me”. I met my wife, Trianda, in the spring of 2011. We have been married for 3 years and now have 2 beautiful daughters, Skylar and Scarlett. Although my daughter Grace lives with her mother, I look forward to each visit. On top of all of this I am still working fulltime at Legends on the Niagara AND I am now in the process of registering to become a non-profit organization to give back to other people who have been affected by brain injury.