A motorcycle crash changed Calvin Smith’s life, yet his recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI) grew his family. The Marine veteran shares his story through A Head for the Future, a Department of Defense TBI awareness initiative. The initiative is releasing Smith’s video, featured on A Head for the Future and the YouTube channel of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, in observance of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
“We are highlighting the importance of preventing brain injuries by being safe and wearing appropriate protective gear,” said Scott Livingston, director of education at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). “Calvin’s helmet saved his life, and his story shows that you can recover from TBI through treatment and family support.”
In 2007, Smith was struck by a distracted driver while riding his motorcycle. His injuries required numerous surgeries and eventually the amputation of his left leg. The concussion Smith sustained in the crash added to the cumulative effects of TBIs that had occurred while he was deployed. During his treatment, Smith met his future wife — a speech pathologist — and they brought together their two families. Today, he thrives on the support of his wife and children.
“Some of us get our wounds on the outside; some of us get our wounds on the inside,” said Smith. Reflecting on his recovery, he added, “You got to get the word out and not be ashamed by it. There are guys out there that are going through the same thing.”
According to Defense Department data, more than 344,000 service members have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000. Most of these injuries were diagnosed in noncombat settings. Motor vehicle collisions, falls, training accidents and sports-related incidents are the most common causes of noncombat brain injury among service members.
DVBIC’s A Head for the Future video series features service members and veterans sharing their stories of recovery from brain injury with treatment and family support. The multiyear initiative encourages help-seeking and promotes TBI awareness, prevention and recovery. The initiative offers educational resources, such as information about the signs and symptoms of TBI, and fact sheets with tips about avoiding brain injury in day-to-day activities.
Visit A Head for the Future to learn more, and follow A Head for the Future on DVBIC’s Twitter and on DVBIC’s Facebook page. For more information about the campaign, please contact A Head for the Future.