My road to recovery began on Feb. 17, 2008, when a car struck my motorcycle in McAllen, Texas, and sent me spiraling 150 feet through the air across five lanes of traffic before landing on the pavement. An eyewitness saw me fly end over end like a helicopter swirling through the air, then hit the pavement on my bottom, fall back and hit my head. I now tell people, ‘I didn’t go to heaven or hell, I just blacked out. My book “A Miracle on the Road to Recovery* chronicles my return to function over the two years that followed the accident. On impact, I suffered a fractured skull and pelvis and an intracranial hemorrhage resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
After 9 days in McAllen hospital I was transferred to a Houston ICU before being admitted to TIRR Memorial Herman, a rehabilitation hospital specializing in brain and spinal injury. On admission to TIRR my diagnosis was severe TBI, autonomic instability and vegetative state or altered consciousness, My family recalls “when we arrived at TIRR, we knew to keep standing on what we knew God could do instead of what we saw when we looked at him.”
“It was a long, slow process,” Jan Keller (John’s Mom) admits. “People would ask us, ‘How long will it take?’ We’d say, ‘With God, a thousand days is like one day. We have to be patient and keep pushing.’ The miracle was that John was hearing us say these things. We pushed and prayed until something happened. He didn’t start putting things together until he started talking and that was 11 months after the accident.”
In January 2009, I returned home to continue recovery.
Today, my family and I continue to help other TBI survivors and families and to reach out to others who need prayer at TIRR and through social media, a blog, and with Learning RX.
The doctors and therapists at TIRR said much later that it was one of the most severe cases of traumatic brain injury they’d seen. “When he came to us, he couldn’t even move his eyes and now he’s walking, talking and writing a book. These are the outcomes we dream of as healthcare professionals.”
*A Miracle on the Road to Recovery: A True Story by John Keller with Margie Knight. Word & Spirit Resources, 2010.