Specializing solely in post-acute brain injury since 1982

Brain Injury Survivor Takes New Steps

Sean Carter Hurt In Wreck Involving Alcohol

A man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a wreck that involved alcohol is making steps toward recovery.


Sean Carter's new morning routine begins with one slow step, but that little step could pave the way for a miraculous goal -- walking again.

Carter can't walk or talk after the accident six years ago in north Texas.

After being in a coma for weeks and stuck in silence for months, Carter's mom, Jenny, soon realized he could understand her. A computer voice system soon transformed his life after the accident.

Carter and his mom travel the country spreading his unique message to students and DWI offenders about the real consequences of drinking and driving. Local 2 profiled Carter's story in January.

Carter is spending time in Galveston, going through a unique rehabilitation regimen at the Transitional Learning Center. Guided by Dr. Kurt Mossberg and a physical therapy team from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Carter walks with help from a harness system. Motivation comes with every step.

"I don't know how we could have been this lucky (to get into the program)," said Jenny Carter.

It's intense, five-day-a-week therapy. It's helping Sean Carter gain balance and strength, but it's also giving Mossberg's team important clues.

"We're trying to take the same principles that have been applied to spinal cord injury and stroke," said Mossberg. "There's been very little research done in traumatic brain injury."

In a rehab system usually reserved for patients with spinal cord injuries, Mossberg is recording Sean Carter's every move -- from cardio workouts to balance drills to the harness walking system.

The hope is all the work will help Sean Carter's muscles send the right messages to his injured brain and result in more balance, more walking speed, and less need for assistance.

"Sean is just a great person to work with because he's so motivated to work hard," Mossberg said. "We don't see that in every patient."

Motivation comes in many ways for Sean Carter. The daily rehabilitation therapy is something he's never had before. When this summer research project ends, Carter doesn't know if, or when, he'll get another chance for anything similar.

"Theoretically, it ends when it ends because he's run out of all of his benefits," said Jenny Carter. "He's a Medicare patient and he's maxed out his lifetime benefits at 28 years old."

With Sean Carter's Medicare bank empty, therapy is just too expensive for him and his mom. So Carter is making the most of every day. He's happy to work in silence with his wheelchair and voice computer sitting across the room. He smiles as he sweats and laughs as it hurts.

"I feel like I'll be walking away from this, when it's over," Sean Carter told Local 2. "The way things are going, that day seems closer than I had hoped for."

It's the latest chapter in an amazing survival story. There's real hope for a mom and a son who don't give up, along with a new team dedicated to helping Sean Carter win.

Sean Carter's therapy will continue through August. Local 2 will be back in Galveston to see his progress. 

Click to view the News2 Story: http://vimeo.com/29690030

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