• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Christian Licciardi

My son Christian was born and raised in Riverside California, and grew up in a faith based home. He is the youngest of 3 children. He grew up loving sports, his family, and the great outdoors. His goal was to play in the NFL. Football was his passion since age 7. 

Wanting to explore new sights, Christian the 6' 3" man weighing 315 pounds ventured off to Colorado and started playing college football. He was born to perform on the field! In 2014, he was heavily recruited by more than 20 Universities. He visited Adams State University in Alamosa Colorado and decided this would become his new home. After suffering 4 terrifying concussions during that season, his parents sat him down and talked about the long-lasting affects these could have on his life. He had sustained several concussions over the years, and blow after blow he managed to get back on the field. In the spring of 2015, Christian decided that it was time to protect his head so he made the grueling decision to quit his lifelong passion. He left the field for good and set off on new adventures. 8 months later, on Nov. 2, 2015, Christian started experiencing massive headaches and went to his local emergency room.

Over the next week, he went to the emergency room 7 times, but nothing was found as to why he was experiencing such pain. ER Visit after ER Visit, he was sent home with over-the-counter pain meds and sinus spray. This was not working! The pain became more and more excruciating as the hours past. A close family friend, formerly a trauma nurse, contacted the hospital and demanded a spinal tap be done. It was then they suspected viral meningitis and he was admitted into the hospital and treated for 2 days. The family was told the CT scan and MRI were clear, and Christian was released. 2 weeks later he decided to surprise his parents in California for Thanksgiving, so he packed up his 2 dogs & drove 15 hours through the night. Hours after he arrived, the headaches and vomiting returned with a vengeance.

Wanting to fix their son, Christian's parents rushed him to their local hospital ER. They knew something was seriously wrong with their son. Once again, he was sent home with pain and nausea meds. As the headaches and nausea worsened over the next day and a half, they returned him to the ER. A CT scan was done, and they decided to keep him overnight. Christian's mother felt she needed to stay with her son through that night. Christian became delirious and very panicky-he was not himself. Around 1:30 am he had a strange experience & when his mom asked what he was feeling, he whispered the word "death" twice, and gave her the I Love You sign. Patrice, Christian's mothers got a nurse and said, "This isn't how my son acts normally?" and looked at him and said, "You're not dying, your vitals are fine!" Well, those were his last words.

Early on the morning of 11/30/15, Christian managed to get out of bed and fell face/head first. An ICU nurse came up to assess him and immediately rushed him to get a head CT and that is when they found swelling in his brain. He was now moved to ICU. Christian was hooked up to every vice known to man. 

He had become comatose. Another day and a half went by (12/1/15), and as his condition worsened. This family was given the grim news that he had only a few hours left to live. Christian was dying. His parents decided to get a 2nd Neuro Surgeon's opinion & Christian was in the OR within the hour, receiving what would be his first craniotomy (removal of the skull). His entire brain and most of his left skull were full of infection. How could this be? It was as life changed within seconds and their entire world was crumbling before their eyes.

The following days and weeks would become the most unnerving time in this family's life, as they were uncertain if he would survive. Their faith was put to the ultimate test. Local prayer chains turned global. 8 days’ post-op, for the first time since this nightmare began, and on the same day the family received word that he had been accepted to a higher level of care hospital, Christian's vitals and brain pressure (which had been crazily off the charts every day and night) was suddenly stable, enabling him to be transported. Soon after his transport, the family's hearts were once again ripped out of their chests when they received an early morning call that more infection was growing in his brain. He was rushed into yet another emergency surgery for his 2nd craniotomy, where he had much of his right skull removed. Still comatose, he was induced into paralysis and was then put into an almost semi-frozen state for 3 days, to preserve his brain while healing.

The family was informed that he had suffered 4 minor strokes, and Christian's best friend, his sister, literally fell to the ground in sheer terror when the doctor explained what would most likely be affected. Their faith was tested once again! The 2 months that followed was nothing short of a crazy roller coaster ride, with much uncertainty while in ICU, which kept them all on their knees, pleading for his life to be spared. 

After 62 very uncertain days, they received word that their prayers had been answered and Christian was finally infection free! Although Christian was awake, he had not uttered a sound or had any facial expression up to this point. His parents decided to share this great news with him anyway, and he began to cry! This was the point that they knew he was all there-he understood what they had just told him! 

For the past 6 months, this young college athlete has been going back and forth between the Medical Center & the Rehabilitation hospital, with many brain surgeries, cranioplasty (prosthetic skull implanted), brain bleed drains, filters placed because of blood clots which developed, and new infections caught, causing his 3rd craniotomy (prosthetic skull removed) and therapies trying to teach him everything all over again. Yes, he is now without 70% of his skull AGAIN weighing now 208 pounds! The NeuroSurgeon will wait at least 6 months before making Christian's head look whole again (2nd cranioplasty). The right side of his body has no voluntary movement; however, his therapists are hopeful since they can feel some muscles occasionally "firing."

A very long story short at the end of the day this man is so loved! His medically unexpected recovery has stumped the medical world, as he is now home recovering with family. His Dad right by his side, and outpatient therapists are teaching him new daily living skills. He must learn everything all over again. While his family is ecstatic he is finally home, the burden is all on them. His Dad is trying to be superhero, but his back may not last much longer. They have no in home care help, while much of that is needed. The process of trying to get approved for such help is very time consuming, and they've heard it's also minimal. Their faith remains strong! Christians passion for football will never diminish!

To DONATE to this family, you may do so by clicking here. They need all the help they can get during this new transition.

Thank you, for letting us join this helpful Family!

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