In October of 2003, a black cloud seemed to hang over our family, which all culminated on a wet, fall day when I was hit and dragged by a pickup truck while riding a Big Wheel type toy at a friend’s birthday party. The medics who arrived on the scene were ready to pronounce me dead due to my horrendous injuries. The impact of the truck was directly to the back of my head; immediately I went into a coma.
Miraculously I did make it to the hospital and through emergency brain surgery where part of my cerebellum was removed, along with a large portion of the back of my skull. I also suffered many broken bones and other such injuries.
At the age of 10, I had to learn how to breathe, swallow, talk, eat, stand, sit, walk—everything—all over again. We take for granted that as babies we learn to do all of these things. It’s seemingly no big deal, but it was a huge deal for me. The fact is that medical experts know very little about how the brain works, which means they aren’t very good at knowing how to deal with a traumatic injury to it. The first doctor that saw me once I awakened from my coma quoted, "I am optimistic that Ryan will gain enough strength in his right hand to type." After this grim prognosis, my battle began. When the Lights Go Out tells about a young man’s desperate struggle to return to a regular life after sustaining a traumatic brain injury at the age of nine; it is both inspirational and moving. The fact that I wrote my first book as a freshmen honor student at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut is not only an amazing accomplishment in itself, but also one never thought possible by all of the experts.
When the Lights Go Out will take you from my catastrophic injuries and the battle against death to my continuing success story of recovery, now in Georgia. I not only explain the obvious physical challenges that I faced, but also the emotional and psychological challenges which, at times, were my greatest obstacles. I cover the critical role of faith and spirituality that gave me hope and strength to overcome tremendous challenges. I touch upon the healing power of friends, the inherent goodness of people to help when they are needed the most, and the importance of the support and love of my parents and brother as the foundation through all of my recovery. This inspirational story is a living example of how a horrific event can be overcome by measures of strength, determination and faith that you never knew you had within.