My Story begins on May 9th, 2003. It was a clear sunny day and I had been riding my BMX bike with one of my friends downtown at the Skate park and we decided to ride up to my parent’s home half way up Silver Star Mountain. This ride was not unusual for me as it was a terrific way to help my cardio and legs for racing. The last memory I have of that day was riding uphill with my friend about 1/2 km from the scene of the accident. Everyone always says that in a moment your entire life can change and so often we float through our lives knowing vaguely that this is true, but never really understanding how true it is. Quite often it happens to "the other guy" not us. Well that is all it took for me, one moment, the blink of a eye. From the reports given I was in the bike lane riding on a gradual uphill going quite slow as a BMX only has 1 gear and small 20" tires. I was struck from behind by a Chevy Blazer 4x4 (the posted speed in that area at the time was 60 km per hour and has since been changed to 50km per hour.) My body flew approx. 30 feet from point of impact. Had I not been wearing full Motor-cross racing gear and a full-face helmet and if not for the gift of a large miracle I am 100% certain that I would not be here today. My friend was schooled in first aid and immediately, after seeing me land, performed C-Spine Control to stabilize my neck and spine. In a statement to my mother from one of the first responders to the scene he said "I was amazed to see such a young man so in control of the situation kneeling over Shanda's head doing C-Spine Control all though he was obviously upset over the situation. Both my friend and the first responder tried to awaken me to get a response, but I was unresponsive. 911 was called and an ambulance arrived about 7 minutes later and I was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital. I was unresponsive but breathing with a pulse this whole time. The first vague memory I have after the accident is of very bright lights which I guess were the lights on the ceiling of the hospital. They seemed blinding and then everything went fuzzy again. The next memory is of my best friend being at the hospital and someone telling me that my parents were on their way back from Kelowna where they had been for the day.
Oct 10th 2003, 5 months after the accident, I was finally scheduled for a MRI in Vancouver and a month later on Nov 10th 2003, I received the results back from my MRI that showed grey area in the frontal lobal area of my brain that was thought to be dried blood. In Nov 2003 my Doctor advised me to try to find work and I began helping out our local pool assisting the disabled in swimming techniques, I was dealing with continual headaches and back pain yet hoping that being in the water would help and be low impact.
It was not until Dec 16th 2003 That I was finally given a proper diagnosis by Dr Maryinak, who was new to Vernon as a Rehabilitation Specialist. He stated I had a fractured back and Post Trauma Brain Injury, he recommended that I have physio three times a week and it would take about 6 months for my back to properly heal. It seemed like such a break through at the time to finally have a medical professional validate what we knew was a serious problem that both my Mother and I cried and it seemed like a early Christmas present in itself. It was not until Jan 15th 2004 7 months after the accident that I was sent to Dr Spellacys, a Psycologist, to be tested in Victoria, B.C. He stated that based the results from my MRI and the tests that he had put me through that I definitely had a Brain Injury.
After Victoria I was sent to Dr Dean Foti, one of the best behavioural neurologists at that time at UBC hospital. At the end of Jan 2004 and into the following years I was sent to many different Health care professionals for Physio, Massage Acupuncture and chiropractic not only for my continual headaches but also for the back pain I was having.
As a result of the Brain injury I sustained in the accident I suffered from many symptoms some of which included, list of symptoms after the accident and some to this day, High sensitivity to light, dizziness and swelling of the back of my neck and head extreme sensitivity to high frequency noise emitted by the television Irrational, irritable and continual headaches. I had sticky fluid that came out of my eyes for weeks after the accident not just at night but throughout the day, I spent nights with a ice pack on the back of my neck just to be able to sleep, and to this day I still experience swelling, tenderness and headaches after running. Rolling over or lying down was impossible in the weeks after the accident and I had to be assisted in moving. I never had flashbacks but my behaviour changed drastically. I would over react, I suffered extreme mood swings, frustration over the littlest things that seemed so overwhelming trouble reading and concentrating. My biggest frustration came in the way of extreme fatigue.