OHSU

Tom Share This OHSU Content

Tom

 

“I had never worn a helmet on a skateboard so I wasn’t wearing one that day either.”

 

Last Skateboard Ride of the Day

Tom was a fun-loving teenager who enjoyed snowboarding, soccer, and most of all, skateboarding. At the age of 19, he wanted to celebrate getting a new job so he took his skateboard out to his favorite hill and went for what became his last ride to this day. The hill was steep with a sharp curve at the bottom and, although he had been down the hill many times, he lost control of his board and went flying. He had never worn a helmet on his skateboard and he wasn’t wearing one then. He was saved by a friend who was supposed to meet him at the hill, found him unconscious, and called 911.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Tom suffered from a severe traumatic brain injury. He immediately underwent brain surgery to try and relieve the pressure that was building in his skull due to his brain swelling. He remained in a coma for four months. When he awoke from his coma, he underwent extensive therapy to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat, amongst other things.

Lasting Effects

He still suffers from muscular atrophy on his left side. His vision on his left side never fully recovered. He also experiences difficulty with memory.

Today, Tom is living life to the fullest. He enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, playing video games, and volunteering with ThinkFirst. He has presented to many schools and hopes that other students just like him will learn from him and always wear their helmets.