• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor TJ Floyd

Hello my name is Heather and TJ is my son.

On April 20, 2010, our day started like any other day; little did I know our world as we knew it would be changed forever. My children, Trent, TJ, and Cassi went outside to ride their bikes. A short time later Trent and Cassi came running inside saying that TJ had fallen off his bike and would not wake up. At first they thought he was pretending because TJ was known to be a jokester. Turns out he was not pretending. My children told me he hit the back of my older son's bike and had flipped over the handlebars with his head taking the brunt of the impact on the concrete. My husband carried him inside and we panicked. He told me to call 911. EMS arrived and worked to stabilize him.

TJ was not wearing a helmet. We grew up not wearing helmets and it never even crossed our minds. TJ was taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital for emergency open brain surgery because he was bleeding on the brain. His left pupil was blown when he arrived, meaning he had a severe brain injury. I was told typically you have minutes before the next pupil blows leaving you brain dead.

Technically, TJ suffered an acute subdural hematoma, a skull fracture, and cerebral edema so much so that his brain had a midline shift from right to left. They left off his bone flap to leave room for swelling. The whole left side of TJ’s brain was severely damaged and parts of the right were damaged as well. The most affected areas were speech, language, memory, and cognitive function. We were told that TJ would never intellectually be on a 7 year old level again, and that his speech would not surpass a 3-year-old level.

TJ ended up spending 16 days in PICU and was in the hospital 63 days, with trips back and forth from Frazier Rehab to Kosair for a G-Tube surgery, a VP Shunt Surgery, and a bone flap replacement surgery.

Even though TJ faces many special challenges, we are very blessed to have him here with us today. We have had the pleasure of getting to know the new TJ and watch him be very proud of himself when he accomplishes new goals that we once thought were not possible. He is a survivor, a hero, and a very strong boy who has lived through the unimaginable with a smile on his face and love in his heart.

Even on days when he cries for hours he stills manages to smile!

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