Tag Archives: traumatic brain injury

Internationally recognized neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani joins HCMC

SAMADANI_UZMA_photoDr. Uzma Samadani, whose research on concussion recently made headlines around the world, is joining the Department of Neurosurgery at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), a nationally recognized Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center that specializes in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. She will serve as the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, and also be appointed an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. Continue reading

Former Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce to visit TBI patients

Kevin_Breck_Moran_8286 (SLASH)
On Thursday, April 9, 2015 snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2009 while training for the Olympics, will stop by Hennepin County Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Center to visit with and encourage TBI patients. HCMC’s TBI Center was chosen as a visit site for Pearce because of its reputation for exceptional care of TBI patients and its leadership in the industry.


Kevin Pearce

“The care and encouragement I received during my recovery was so important, and now I want to support and encourage others living with a traumatic brain injury,” explains Pearce.

On December 31, 2009, Pearce was attempting a Cab double cork in a halfpipe in Park City, Utah when he sustained a TBI. An HBO documentary about his experience “The Crash Reel – the Ride of a Lifetime” won an Emmy for Outstanding Information Program. Today, Pearce is an internationally renowned sports commentator, motivational speaker, and advocate for TBI education, prevention, rehabilitation and research, as well as a Sports Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.

About Traumatic Brain Injuries Each year, more than 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Among children and young adults, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability.

In Minnesota, nearly 100,000 brain injuries occur annually. A large percentage of those injuries are mild to moderate cases and often go untreated. As a Level I Trauma Center, Hennepin County Medical Center admits and treats the most traumatic brain injuries in the state.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Center at Hennepin County Medical Center offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary patient care, education and research to serve people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Providing a full range of state-of-the-art medical and rehabilitative services, the TBI Center features caregivers whose expertise spans the entire continuum of care for adult and pediatric TBI patients — from prevention to emergency care, neurosurgery, critical care, rehabilitation and the Mild to Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. Each year, professionals at the Traumatic Brain Injury Center care for more than 2,000 patients.

Dramatic results in TBI research

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Dr. Sarah Rockswold and Dr. Gaylan Rockswold

Dr. Gaylan Rockswold and Dr. Sarah Rockswold, along with researchers at the  University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation report that the combined use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO
2) and normobaric hyperoxia (NBH) therapies provides better outcomes in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) than the standard intensive neurosurgical care recommended for this injury.

“We have never seen this kind of functional outcome improvement in a  TBI study,” explains Dr. Sarah Rockswold. “Combining HBO2 treatments with NBH treatments made a dramatic difference in outcomes.” Continue reading

Not protecting your noggin? Get your head in gear!


Before you hit the slopes this winter, the Traumatic Brain Injury Center at HCMC reminds skiers and snowboarders to “Get Your Head in Gear!”  Getting in gear means putting helmets on those heads to reduce the risk for brain injury.  Starting this Saturday and continuing throughout the winter, HCMC will be at various Twin Cities ski slopes providing information to skiers and snowboarders about the importance of wearing a helmet.  You can find details about these special events, and information about the best winter head protection, at savethisbrain.org. Continue reading

Patient returns to HCMC to thank caregivers

On August 16, 2003, John Frank of Wabasso was involved in an accident where steel scaffolding fell from 6 feet landing on him, fracturing his skull, cheekbone and pelvis. He was immediately transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

Several times during his 40+ day hospitalization  it appeared that John would not survive his injuries. But his family and caregivers never gave up hope, and he reached a point of recovery where he could be discharged to an extended care facility for rehabilitation. At home, John continued to receive speech, occupational and physical therapy. His remarkable recovery had everyone in smiles when he returned to HCMC 8 years later on Thursday, November 10 to thank his caregivers.

Dr. Tummula and John Frank

“The odds were stacked against him,” said Dr. Ramachandra Tummula, who was a neurosurgery resident back in 2003.  “It’s folks like John that keep us going.”

Dr. Tummula and Dr. Tricia Valusek were two of the many physicians who cared for John and got to know his family. They joined nurses and other staff members to visit with John and his family on November 10. While everyone looked at photos and shared memories, thoughts returned to the severity of his injuries, and the miraculous recovery he’s made.

“I have thought of John and his family so often over the years,” said Dr. Valusek, who is now a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital. “He’s one of the  most memorable patients I cared for during my 6 years at HCMC.” She recalled when he finally made a purposeful movement — a thumbs up.

John Frank and Dr. Trish Valusek

“Two other doctors and I started crying. They won’t admit it, but I will.”

Kelly White, RN, was one of John’s nurses back in 2003, and she’s now the interim Director of Critical Care at HCMC.  She says that hearing positive feedback from patients is extremely valuable for caregivers. “John’s visit really  means a lot to us. It’s just amazing to see how much he has recovered, and to see his wonderful family again.”

“Just to know you had an impact on a patient and family — there’s nothing like that feeling,” says White.

John Frank and his wife, Char have been married for 38 years and have 6 grown children.  Since the time of John’s injury, two more of their children were married and 6 more grandchildren, now totaling 13, were added to their family.  John continues to be highly motivated to heal from his injuries.  He stays busy helping with household chores including cooking and enjoys spending time playing board games with his grandchildren and helping them with their homework.  This past summer he reached another milestone in his recovery – he was able to get on his riding lawnmower without assistance and cut the grass at their rural Wabasso home.

 “I’m so blessed,” said John, “I’m truly blessed.”

Read more about John Frank’s story on his Caringbridge site at http://www.caringbridge.org/mn/johnfrank/