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Life after a traumatic brain injury: Learning to eat, walk and talk again

Life after a traumatic brain injury: Learning to eat, walk and talk again 2020-09-20Leave a comment

electrical bike Life after a traumatic mind damage: Studying to eat, stroll and discuss once more

Dale Henley can not keep in mind flying over his handlebars and touchdown on his head.

The times earlier than the mountain biking accident are blacked out. Henley woke in hospital after 4 nights in a coma and realized to stroll, discuss and eat once more. Eight weeks have been wiped from his reminiscence.

However after to this point making a robust restoration, he has realized that the clinic which helped rehabilitate him is closing down.

Henley’s fiancee and finest good friend wrote particulars of his restoration in a journal for him. That is how the Christchurch mechanic and father pieced collectively what he has been by.

Henley broke 5 vertebrae and suffered a traumatic mind damage (TBI) on a Christchurch Port Hills observe 10 months in the past. He has been instructed individuals normally want about 18 months earlier than returning to work, driving and speaking usually once more after such an damage, however he’s already doing this and extra.

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Dale Henley credits the Christchurch rehab unit, where he stayed two months after his accident, for his speedy recovery.


Dale Henley credit the Christchurch rehab unit, the place he stayed two months after his accident, for his speedy restoration.

Whereas he has given up bike racing for good, he has been on his pushbike and motorcycle once more.

Henley was 50 metres into the general public observe when he fell on the primary soar. He was driving together with his fiancee’s son Isaiah Piper, 16 on the time, who had simply accomplished a primary support course.

Piper referred to as 111, put an unconscious Henley within the restoration place, and saved him respiratory.

A Christchurch Hospital anaesthetist occurred to be driving on the Victoria Park observe that day. She helped paramedics insert an IV line in Henley’s foot after a number of failed makes an attempt, then firefighters carried him out of the bush to a ready rescue helicopter.

Doctors told Henley the helmet he was wearing at the time of the accident saved his life.


Medical doctors instructed Henley the helmet he was carrying on the time of the accident saved his life.

When he arrived on the hospital, Henley scored 6 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), a scoring system used to gauge the severity of an acute mind damage. Zero means useless, and 16 means no damage. A rating below 8 means a extreme TBI, which can lead to long-term bodily, cognitive and emotional harm.

Medical doctors instructed his fiancee he won’t survive and won’t keep in mind her.

Henley did keep in mind everybody round him, however couldn’t discuss, stroll or eat.

“I used to be like a child. I needed to discover ways to do all the things once more.”

He spent one other week within the neuroscience ward earlier than transferring to a rehabilitation unit for 2 months.

The five-bed facility, run by The Laura Fergusson Belief, will close in November resulting from a funding change from ACC and a drop in demand. When Henley learn in regards to the closure, he felt compelled to share his story.

Dale Henley broke his back and suffered a traumatic brain injury in a mountain biking accident last year. His fiancee’s son, Isaiah Piper, 17, right. was with him at the time. Henley has since been able to go biking again with his son, Ezra, 9, left.


Dale Henley broke his again and suffered a traumatic mind damage in a mountain biking accident final 12 months. His fiancee’s son, Isaiah Piper, 17, proper. was with him on the time. Henley has since been capable of go biking once more together with his son, Ezra, 9, left.

About 15 employees will possible lose their jobs and sufferers from Canterbury, the West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough must journey to Dunedin, Wellington or Auckland for rehabilitation.

Henley credit the unit and its workforce of physiotherapists, speech therapists, psychologists, nurses and docs together with his restoration.

“They taught me methods to be human once more. Arms down if it wasn’t for [the] Laura Fergusson [Trust], I wouldn’t be again at work right this moment.

“That they had a lot respect for me as an individual. They pushed me and made me really feel like I had one thing to reside for.”

Registered nurse Pauline Dawson outside the Laura Fergusson Trust, Canterbury’s only traumatic brain injury rehabilitation service which is due to close with the loss of about 15 staff.


Registered nurse Pauline Dawson outdoors the Laura Fergusson Belief, Canterbury’s solely traumatic mind damage rehabilitation service which is because of shut with the lack of about 15 employees.

His dad, a gardener, was so grateful to the belief he has supplied to work on its backyard at no cost.

When Henley was down, employees took him for a stroll across the park or sat down with him to speak. After he left the unit, his physiotherapist helped him get again on his bike at Bottle Lake park and his speech therapist went to his office, a motorcycle storage, to work out a plan to get him again to work.

Having his fiancee, family and friends by his aspect throughout his rehabilitation made an enormous distinction, he mentioned. He couldn’t have had the identical degree of assist had he travelled to a different metropolis for therapy.

His fiancee sat with him for hours, reminding him of the small print of his life and reassuring him. He was capable of see his 9-year-old son recurrently. Dropping the Christchurch rehabilitation unit could be a “huge loss” and he anxious different sufferers wouldn’t have the identical likelihood at restoration, he mentioned.

Henley returned to work about two months in the past on decreased hours and has began biking once more, however shall be staying on the bottom.

He nonetheless wants a number of relaxation and sleep, often forgets what he’s speaking about mid-sentence and can’t multi-task, however is placing all of his power into his household.

”Earlier than, I put my household first but it surely was all about racing. All my cash went into it. [The accident] has modified my perspective on life. I’m constructing a home now, doing what adults do.”

An ACC spokeswoman mentioned it was frequent for individuals to journey for specialist companies, corresponding to to mind damage, spinal twine and burns items.

ACC was revising the way it funded the traumatic mind damage companies, which have been extremely specialised and price loads to run, she mentioned. It was not searching for one other supplier for the Canterbury contract.

Final 12 months ACC obtained greater than 7300​ claims for mountain bike-related accidents, almost 1500 of which have been from Canterbury – the worst area within the nation.

Dale Henley with the bike he was riding and helmet he was wearing when he had his accident 10 months ago.


Dale Henley with the bike he was driving and helmet he was carrying when he had his accident 10 months in the past.

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