BIA-MA Looks Back on 2012 Survivors’ Stories

Brain injury, which includes traumatic brain injury or TBI and acquired brain injury or ABI, is recognized as the fastest growing epidemic in the U.S. by the Center for Disease Control. TBI is a head injury caused by an external physical force. ABI refers to any type of brain damage occurring after birth that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or the result of an external impact.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually. Every 18.5 seconds someone in the U.S. suffers a TBI.  As the year 2012 comes to an end, we’d like to feature a few of the survivors’ stories we’ve featured on our website over the past year.


Kelley Linn

There have been two constants in Kelley Linn’s life for over a year now: her love of volleyball and painful headaches from two concussions she sustained while playing volleyball.  Both concussions kept Kelley out of school – her first injury kept her out of school for four weeks. Her second concussion left her with severe headaches, required her to stay out of school for weeks and see a concussion specialist .  She began homebound instruction,  started a 504 accommodation plan and eventually, gradually resumed classes. Now an ambassador speaker for BIA-MA, Kelley Linn helps the Organization raise awarenesss about concussions and brain injuries as she continues to heal. Click here to read her full story.


Katie Atchue

At just eight years old, Katie Atchue suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) hemorrhage. The condition is present at birth and happens when arteries in the brain connect directly to veins without the necessary capillaries between them. The incident occurs in only 1 percent of the population and the effects can be devastating. As a result, Katie lost her abilities to speak and eat and her short-term memory was affected. Sometimes, she also finds it difficult to focus. However, Katie never gave up. She had to learn how to walk again again, hold her head up by herself and use her communication device called a DynaVox. Today, Katie volunteers at BIA-MA once a week and has met other survivors through BIA-MA’s PALS program.  Click here to read Katie’s  full story.


Joanne Susi

Joanne Susi,  a life coach and motivational speaker, suffered a stroke while grocery shopping. Her stroke landed her in a nursing home and her doctors told her children she may never be able to walk again. Today, Joanne is living on her own in her own apartment after applying and qualifying for the ABI Waiver. She has regular aids who come over to assist her, but she’s able to do her own grocery shopping and cooking and she has a wonderful social life with family and friends. Click here to read Joanne’s full story.


Sean Rowell

Avid snowboarder Sean Rowell was in the eighth grade when he suffered a severe  brain injury while snowboarding at a small terrain park. Although Sean doesn’t remember exactly how it happened, he believes he overshot the landing on his second jump and was knocked unconcious. He was in a coma for six days. Doctors said if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, he would have died. After his stay in the hospital, he was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston for rehabilitation.  Today, Sean is an Ambassador Speaker for BIA-MA and is still able to enjoy the snow through the Pre-Adaptive Coaching program at Loon Mountain. The program allows Sean to train in all the aspects of adaptive skiing including disability awareness, equipment use and maintenance, teaching techniques and skiing and riding. Click here to read Sean’s full story.

These stories are just some of the surviors’ stories on our website. To read more, click here.


One thought on “BIA-MA Looks Back on 2012 Survivors’ Stories

  1. Mary Laforet

    After life in a difficult life after survivingTBI I began to experience true body recovery through staying active and visiting gym and doing correct exercises…..I wish I could help more but there is a growing process and you just need to realize you can get stuff working again…work with a chiropractor and you could still experience TRUE RECOVERY….It is so much better than what therapy always prescrived. Check our Facebook page



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