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

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Cases: 593622

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1228171731
Ramsey51446875
Dakota45976452
Anoka41782439
Washington26948283
Stearns22266222
St. Louis17787304
Scott17296124
Wright16082140
Olmsted1325598
Sherburne1173087
Carver1050745
Clay816392
Rice8063107
Blue Earth751541
Crow Wing666290
Kandiyohi656283
Chisago601351
Otter Tail575478
Benton571697
Goodhue478572
Douglas468575
Mower466232
Winona455050
Itasca439156
McLeod424559
Isanti422464
Morrison419660
Nobles408048
Beltrami397059
Steele388715
Polk384868
Becker380953
Lyon361051
Carlton345654
Freeborn342029
Pine329022
Nicollet326243
Brown305440
Mille Lacs305053
Le Sueur292423
Todd282432
Cass273428
Meeker256640
Waseca236322
Martin230732
Roseau209419
Wabasha20613
Hubbard190041
Dodge18513
Renville180343
Redwood174337
Houston171916
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Fillmore156510
Wadena155922
Pennington153719
Faribault152419
Chippewa152338
Kanabec144726
Sibley143810
Aitkin135036
Watonwan13289
Rock128319
Jackson121812
Pipestone115926
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11056
Murray10639
Swift105618
Stevens91411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86916
Koochiching83615
Wilkin81612
Lake81120
Lac qui Parle75322
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5788
Mahnomen5539
Norman5399
Unassigned49293
Kittson48622
Red Lake3977
Traverse3705
Lake of the Woods3253
Cook1640

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 367236

Reported Deaths: 5940
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57666626
Linn20892335
Scott20060241
Black Hawk15824308
Woodbury15138228
Johnson1449183
Dubuque13380208
Dallas1118398
Pottawattamie11132168
Story1062348
Warren577988
Clinton555893
Cerro Gordo540689
Sioux514474
Webster512293
Marshall483075
Muscatine481399
Des Moines458066
Wapello4303122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419372
Plymouth401280
Lee376055
Marion362875
Jones299057
Henry291937
Carroll285752
Bremer284860
Crawford266240
Boone265034
Benton256655
Washington254050
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230451
Jackson222142
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama209871
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196835
Page192722
Buchanan191432
Cedar190023
Hardin185643
Fayette185141
Wright184737
Hamilton180049
Harrison179673
Clayton169556
Butler165034
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161142
Cherokee158938
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151451
Iowa148824
Hancock148434
Winnebago142531
Cass138654
Calhoun138513
Grundy136333
Emmet134240
Jefferson132435
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Union128333
Louisa128149
Appanoose128049
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
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Franklin120721
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112823
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Clarke100224
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Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
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Monona82730
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