My name is Otis and this is my story.

5 pm, running track. Two-hour training had become a part of my daily routine. The vision of the Olympic track boosted my stamina and left me hungry for victory. I was in my athletic prime, having debuted in sports at the age of 18. I grew up on sports- it runs in my blood.

My headaches had been gradually developing into migraines which begun to affect my training. Painkillers were a temporary solution- and it wasn’t soon until I started losing strength in my legs and eventually my consciousness, dropping on the kitchen floor at home. A few weeks after the immediate hospital admission and following a battery of tests, I received the results which stated that I was dangerously close to having diabetes. I thought that it was the sugary drinks which I liked so much that caused my migraines. After finding out about the results, I cut it all off.

Despite the drastic change in my diet, my headaches grew worse and a few months later I found myself in the hospital with a new diagnosis – hydrocephalus. It’s a condition in which excess fluid accumulates in the brain. The doctors instructed that I return to the hospital with a bag of clothes to last a week. As soon as I left the hospital, everything turned black. I don’t know what happened. Following the incident, I was in a coma for a month.

I woke up to a bunch of tubes connected to my body, one of which fed me through the nose. Once an epitome of good health and a strong athlete, I found himself struggling to see and move. Communication became impossible as I had a tube that was draining fluid from my brain to my abdomen. The only way to communicate with my family and friends was through an alphabet chart where I pointed at letters to form words.

Following my discharge in May, I slowly regained strength, and was referred to Attend in hopes of getting backing on my feet. My experience with Attend was outstanding, and my time at fAABI just as great. While I was surrounded by loving friends and family, I was not the same laid-back and confident guy I once was- I did struggle communicating my difficulties with those around me, but fAABI presented the opportunity to meet people in similar situations as myself. I wasn’t very talkative following my brain injury, but I managed to gain confidence and be myself again after coming along to fAABI Movie Nights, Music and Arts & Crafts Sessions.

Once an athlete, always an athlete.  I’m hoping to pursue a career in sports, and my time with fAABI can be credited with encouraging me to regain skills I feared had been lost forever- confidence, communication and learning to be comfortable with myself again, brain injury and all. I strongly encourage those struggling with brain injuries to seek out fAABI, as their support is second to none!

fAABI presented the opportunity to meet people in similar situations as myself.

Otis, fAABI