Friday, November 20, 2015

Ben Utecht advocacy

The concussion crisis has changed the face of sports as we know it and it has brought to surface the incredible importance of our brain health. The time is now for us to make our brain the number one priority so that education and awareness can take effect, and begin to change the way we approach the health of our athletes from youth to professionals. Ben Utecht (former Colts and Bengals tight end)

Ben Utecht has become my favorite ex-football player. He has done a tremendous amount for the head injured community. He has taken a stand against that which he feels is a growing epidemic amongst young people. He is known to have suffered five concussions and he began experiencing notable memory loss by the age of thirty. I was not aware of him or his advocacy until I a friend posted regarding a charitable event at which he was featured. Social media has made an incredible influence on the ability of certain communities to unite. Ben Utecht has made it his mission to write music and provide inspiration to all but specifically those that have endured head trauma. Ben has decided to use his second career (singer) to reach people on many different levels. He has become known for writing inspirational music that he uses to reach many people. While he has a special interest in contacting the head injured population, Ben Utecht has an appeal to all people. I for one have a special place in my heart for Ben Utecht. I am hugely in favor of people using their fame to accomplish something larger. Ben Utecht has not danced around the fact that his brain has been damaged. He is using his fame to do his part in helping to change the culture for those in the brain injured community. He performs and speaks at many events for the betterment of the Brain Injured population. I think it is excellent the fact that he has decided to pursue a second career and that he continually makes an effort to be supportive of those who have endured brain injuries. I see him in a similar light as Bethany Hamilton. While Ben was not physically deformed he has endured numerous cognitive insults which he has been very vocal about in regards to. He has written songs to his children and his wife to ensure that they and always will be his number one girls no matter what memories he may or may not retain.


Life is a lively process of becoming

“Life is a lively process of becoming.” - Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur reminds people that they always need to seek the inspiration within themselves to continue becoming. Becoming and living are synonyms that can be used as both adjectives and verbs when a person is describing the life that they are living. An individual needs to never lose track of the desire and need that they have in order to continue becoming who they are to fulfill their greatest potential. After a brain injury a person must fulfill the desire and need that they have in order to develop into who they are supposed to be. Role models can assist and aid as an individual is deciphering what goals are best suited to him/her. Douglas MacArthur reminds people that there is always an opportunity to become. There is never a point where a person should feel satisfied and as if they do not need to continue improving. That desire is a huge part of life and it fulfills the desire that so many people have.

The holidays are coming and yearly one gets to witness how the children of the family are developing into who they are going to be. As I picked up a few early presents for them I was reminded of what an incredible phenomenon family gets to witness each year as the children are developing and changing into who they are going to be. It is unique that with children you get to witness the physical changes as well as the emotional and intellectual changes that they are going through. People who have sustained a brain injury change vastly from year to year yet many survivors refer to the injury as the unknown injury. The injury affects the whole being and while certain areas may not seem to be effected as directly as others, the individual knows what has been affected. For myself I will forever be on the path and in the lively process of becoming who I am destined to be. I am proud that I was able to graduate college and I am proud that I was able to attain employment. I feel as though I am in the lively process of becoming who I am. Certainly my path took a few unexpected paths and turns yet I feel as though I am on the right path. I would love to hear who has experienced any unexpected turns in their path towards becoming who they are going to be. I am not done; I feel that none of us are and that we will always be on the path towards discovery. I thank you very much for reading.


Friday, November 13, 2015

The purpose of life

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Recently I decided to take part in an activity which has not ever been typical for me. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and to go fishing. Fishing was certainly a challenge for me because my right arm is not very functional. I decided to not allow myself to be held back by my disability. It was a beautiful day and the people on the boat were awesome to me. The mates who assisted me seemed to be beyond willing. Once I came to the decision that I was going to take part in the unseasonably warm and beautiful November fishing trip it seemed as though the people on the boat were beyond willing to help me. The environment was beyond beautiful and I felt joy unlike the typical. It was a true experience of me living in the moment. The experience was so much more than catching a fish, I was able to assist in reeling the fish in and I was one hundred percent able to absorb the beautiful sun rays and feel the joy of holding the fish up for a picture after I had caught it. I became sort of the boats mascot because it seemed as though many people began to take notice of the number of fish that my assister and I caught. I say that I caught because the mate made me feel as though it was all my doing. I had a few moments of reservations before I decided to venture out on a fishing boat. I was certainly happy that I decided to go. I have to engage in self-talk many times when I am considering doing an activity that is out of my comfort zone. I am happy to report that I had an excellent time and that I was thrilled that I had decided to go on the fishing trip. I am really very fortunate that I have the support that I do. My mother was beyond excited to have me out fishing with her. I was thrilled that she encouraged me to experience the activity and to live and enjoy the moment. A November day does not come along too frequently that was as warm and lovely as the one that I experienced. I was out on the beautiful water on an incredible day. Fishing for me was an experience that I have never done since my injury. I am sure that I will go fishing again when the opportunity presents itself. I have to try and not allow my reservations and fears to take away the experience of attempting new experiences. I was able to experience the beautiful day and the beautiful experience. Eleanor Roosevelt I feel would have been proud of my decision to decide to do something different and go fishing. I was able to cast off any barriers that I had built up in my mind and truly live for the moment and allow myself to experience the pleasure of a new and different experience. I would love to hear any reflections that you may have. Thank you so much for reading.


Monday, November 9, 2015

The first step to getting anywhere is deciding not to stay

“The first step to getting anywhere is deciding that you are not willing to stay where you are.”

A person needs to satiate and focus upon what they desire. The only true constant in life is change. Individuals have to stop resisting changes and rather embrace them. Changes are natural and they should not be feared. The difficulty comes when people fear change. A person has to decide that it is more fearful to stay where you are then to brave the uncertainty of something new. Life in the years well after a brain injury absolutely presents its own unique challenges. Resistance to change has become a great hurdle for me and many other survivors who I am in contact with. I believe that there has to be times when people are willing to accept the fact that certainty is never given, have faith and venture forward. I would love to hear from whoever else has made a difficult choice for them following a life altering event or injury. I think that honesty is truly the best policy when it comes to disclosing things about your injury. I am a huge advocate of promoting open communication amongst survivors. There are unique challenges that are only faced by people who have withstood a TBI. I am a member of many online support groups and I am familiar with the dialogue and concerns that are the topics of conversation amongst survivors and support networks. I think that the greatest teachers are those who have lived through a brain injury and continue to live it. I often bring up for discussion what changes individuals have elected to make following an injury. I like to hear the difficulties and factors that played in to whichever decision was settled upon. I think that much can be learned by comparing and contrasting the way others have made decisions following a brain injury. Decisions and change are always difficult but the brain injury certainly adds a wrench to the mix. Several survivors I have grown incredibly close with and we communicate as true friends who understand each other. Survivors of a brain injury are unique in that there are certain aspects that only they can truly relate to others because they have lived it. I am curious to hear any responses or reflections that you may have. Change is very difficult for all people yet sometimes there is a great reward to challenging the new and unknown aspects of unchartered waters. As survivors we can serve to assist and aid each other.