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Medical Monday 3.24.14: Fort Kent Man Shares Road to Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

| March 24, 2014


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More than a million incidents of traumatic brain injury occur in the U.S. every year. Brain injuries are quite common, and if left untreated unfortunately can be quite DEADLY.

One Fort Kent man has survived a traumatic brain injury and is sharing his story in hopes of spreading awareness. Its this week’s Medical Monday with Shawn Cunningham.

Bob Sirois used to take for granted a simple task like washing dishes. But after he sustained a traumatic brain injury two years ago in a skiing accident, SIMPLE TASKS became the hardest hurdles to overcome.

“We were just three hundred feet from the lift and my pole planted and it threw me to the side and it pulled my arm back and there was no way of protecting myself and I fell on my head on the ice and thank GOD I had a helmet cause if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here to talk about it,” says Sirois. Sirois recovered briefly in a hospital but knew something deeper was wrong. A neurologist in Bangor diagnosed Sirois with having a brain injury. The diagnosis confirmed his inner feeling of not feeling quite like himself.

“I lost my speech, I lost 40 percent of my eyesight I lost hearing and those things I could live with but it was the change of character my whole character changed.”

Local health practitioners and experts say more awareness needs to brought to the health condition of traumatic brain injury, considering how complex and vulnerable the brain organ is to damage.

Erin Soucy is the Director of Nursing/Allied Health for UMFK and adds “The brain is a very delicate part of our body and sometimes what happens is we have a skull and the skull protects our brain but what can happen is the brain can move within the skull and sometimes people can have a coup contra coup injury where you might have a blunt trauma to the front of your brain where your brain can hit both the front and back of your skull so you have two areas injured from the one hit or fall.”

Some common causes of brain injuries include:


•Motor vehicle accidents

•Struck by/against events


Its been a long road back for Sirois.He credits his unwavering faith, and the support of his family with getting him this far despite many low points…and nearly giving up. Its a transition…one with rewards. As long as he’s willing to try.

“Some of the symptoms I have today are gonne be with me the rest of my life, and that’s the hard part but I’ve been very blessed I count my blessings everyday that I see the progress I;m getting better something might throw me for a loop I regain my focus and move on with it.”


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