The Journey Back From Brain Injury

Some patients, he adds, may never recover past the minimally conscious state they entered after their injury.

But for "success stories," such as Baglione's, a question remains: Can patients recover completely?

"I've never seen that happen in 26 years of treating 11,000 patients," O'Shanick said. "Can they get close? Yes. But do they have to make concessions? Yes."

Sometimes, though, even small steps toward recovery can make a big difference to loved ones.

On a Monday morning in March, Woodruff's wife, Lee, pulled back the curtain in his room to find him fully conscious for the first time in a long time. He was sitting up in bed with bright eyes.

He turned to his wife and said, "Sweetie, where have you been?"

As Woodruff continued his recovery from this point, he began a life forever changed by his injury, but not without hope.

"It's about regaining cognitive skills, but also about managing loss, as well as acceptance and finding your own new place in the world," said Susan Connors, president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America.

"My hope is that others who sustain brain injuries show the same kind of courage that Bob and the Woodruff family have."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 2900192.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Oscar de la Renta and Oprah Winfrey attend the Costume Institute Gala Benefit to celebrate the opening of the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 8, 2010, in New York City.
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage/Getty Images
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo