The Road to Rehab: Life after a traumatic brain injury

Nearly a decade after a Rochester man was in a motorcycle accident, going less than 20mph, he battles a traumatic brain injury. The ten year anniversary will be this July 4th. It was then, Brad Mattison's life changed.

Posted: Jun 25, 2018 10:42 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - It's the busiest time of the year for motorcyclists on area roadways.

In 2015, 60 motorcyclists died in Iowa and 52 in Minnesota. Those numbers are courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reported more than 5,200 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2016, in the United States. The organization estimates that helmets saved nearly 1,800 riders lives in 2015, and around 740 more could have been saved if everyone had worn them.

Nearly a decade after a Rochester man was in a motorcycle accident, going less than 20mph, he battles a traumatic brain injury.
The ten year anniversary will be this July 4th. It was then, Brad Mattison's life changed.

"I clunked my head and lights out... No helmet," explained Mattison.

Mattison would spend more than two months in the hospital with his family by his side. He was in a coma for a month.

"When I finally went home I went home in a wheelchair, I was paralyzed on the right side," said Mattison.

Ten years later and Mattison is still going to rehab once a week, to work on his strength, endurance and stability.

At the time of his accident Mattison owned four motorcycles.

"I sold all four of them. I hated to do it I love motorcycles and I love riding. I've been doing it since I was 12, I loved it, but I would never put my family through that again," stated Mattison.

He is now an advocate for safety. He told KIMT he will stop and talk to bikers at the gas pump when he is filling up with fuel, if he notices they aren't wearing their helmets.

"Sometimes they don't want to listen and I say listen up, give me 30-seconds. So many people go ya know that's not a bad idea, I'm going to start wearing my helmet," said Mattison.

He told KIMT he never wore a helmet when riding his motorcycle.

"People would say you really should wear a helmet, leather and boots, you should have all that stuff and I just blew them off. I thought if you fall off a motorcycle break an arm or a leg no big deal, it will heal. I didn't realize how fragile your brain is," recalled Mattison.

Since the accident, Mattison spends a lot of time at the blood center, even though he didn't receive blood during his time at the hospital.

"I'm donating blood because they took such great care of me and it was so fulfilling to get back on my feet again - that one of the few things I can do is give blood," said Mattison.

Mariela Rivera is a Trauma Surgeon at Mayo Clinic and told KIMT you can't argue the data that proves helmets can greatly decrease a brain injury. Symptoms of a brain injury can range from mild such as a headache and nausea to re-learning how to walk and talk, it could even result in death.

"When you're having an injury to your head and your are wearing a helmet it is a protection. There is no question about it and that can affect the impact that you are going to get into your brain and the consequences of that which we will call traumatic brain injury which can be completely different," said Rivera.

Since Mattison is such an advocate for donating blood we wanted to remind you that blood centers are always in need of donation. In fact, the need spikes during the summer months with more motorcycle and car accidents, which can lead to a national shortage. Mayo Clinic's Blood Donor spokesperson told KIMT that blood has an expiration date just like milk and supplies can quickly dwindle.

While all blood type donors are needed the one that is most universal is Group "O'.

To learn how you can donate click here.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 483790

Reported Deaths: 6543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1003791583
Ramsey42945800
Dakota36091387
Anoka33200384
Washington21986254
Stearns18703200
St. Louis14746262
Scott13209107
Wright12489115
Olmsted1176188
Sherburne869772
Carver765240
Clay688887
Rice667191
Blue Earth591035
Kandiyohi578474
Crow Wing518381
Chisago496844
Otter Tail481370
Benton444890
Winona416649
Mower402731
Douglas392268
Nobles386547
Goodhue384468
Polk342262
McLeod338349
Beltrami336751
Morrison323547
Lyon312444
Itasca311646
Becker309941
Isanti305354
Carlton299848
Steele299211
Pine281916
Freeborn279823
Nicollet256041
Todd246330
Brown243537
Le Sueur233920
Mille Lacs226747
Cass219124
Waseca208617
Meeker206934
Martin188228
Wabasha18613
Roseau179617
Hubbard160640
Houston157114
Dodge15154
Renville149040
Redwood146527
Fillmore13708
Chippewa135935
Cottonwood134520
Pennington131816
Wadena130220
Faribault122716
Aitkin118733
Sibley117110
Watonwan11708
Rock115614
Kanabec107319
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93310
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77615
Stevens7398
Lake73518
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66910
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5052
Grant4908
Norman4768
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3025
Lake of the Woods2161
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 361499

Reported Deaths: 5412
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58007549
Linn20606312
Scott18279207
Black Hawk16223290
Woodbury14924211
Johnson1380473
Dubuque13522194
Dallas1132690
Pottawattamie10762143
Story1018945
Warren553474
Clinton542484
Cerro Gordo532781
Webster517687
Marshall495572
Sioux493469
Buena Vista472736
Des Moines457061
Muscatine450691
Wapello4314108
Jasper416266
Plymouth394277
Lee374752
Marion358469
Jones294354
Henry293037
Carroll285348
Bremer279154
Crawford273435
Boone259130
Washington253747
Benton252054
Mahaska223846
Jackson221138
Dickinson217238
Tama212965
Kossuth208154
Clay193125
Hamilton191942
Delaware188639
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan184629
Fayette184335
Page182619
Hardin180839
Wright179531
Harrison179469
Cedar177023
Clayton168053
Butler165831
Mills162820
Floyd162740
Madison154018
Poweshiek153630
Cherokee153535
Hancock146729
Lyon145941
Allamakee144946
Iowa144223
Grundy138830
Appanoose138647
Jefferson138232
Winnebago137730
Calhoun133311
Cass133351
Mitchell130640
Louisa128341
Union126331
Chickasaw124813
Sac124218
Emmet120940
Shelby120433
Franklin118419
Humboldt117225
Guthrie116228
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard102821
Clarke100320
Unassigned9850
Keokuk97829
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida90832
Pocahontas85219
Davis82523
Monona81527
Greene76910
Lucas73221
Osceola70314
Worth6947
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5749
Van Buren56018
Ringgold51820
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