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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Young entrepreneur regains skills after traumatic brain injury

August 20, 2021

In early April 2021, 23-year-old Blake Jackson sustained severe brain trauma after a serious motor vehicle accident. Given a 5% chance of survival, emergency crews initially took Blake by ambulance Centerpoint Hospital in Independence, Missouri, for treatment.

Blake, a passionate outdoor enthusiast and owner of a tree-trimming business, was used to climbing trees and being active, but found himself with many obstacles to overcome to regain independence and participation in the recreational and occupational activities that he loves.  “I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t eat, or see. I had no strength.” Following the advice of his girlfriend, the couple choose to make the three-hour drive to the Lincoln Campus for Blake’s next step in his rehabilitation journey.  “We knew he needed intensive rehabilitation, and we wanted the best, we heard Madonna makes miracles happen,” said girlfriend Grace Brown.  

Arriving at Madonna, Blake was ready and grateful to start getting his life back. Occupational Therapist Emily Carothers helped Blake regain his strength, cognition and confidence by incorporating his favorite outdoor activities including fishing and trimming tree branches. “I saw Blake really blossom during his inpatient stay. His movement got a lot better we also worked on a lot of thinking and problem solving,” said Carothers. “So he went from not even being able to tell me what he does for a living, to trimming trees and telling me how to trim them.”

Emily said incorporating Blake’s passions into daily therapy sessions offered him the chance to reclaim his independence through doing what he loves. “If you think about brain pathways, the more you use a pathway the stronger it gets. So I could try to help Blake with motor coordination by doing a lot of different things. But if trimming trees is the motor plan he’s familiar with then that’s how we’re going to make the most progress.”

Despite a challenging and intensive rehabilitation journey, Blake made tremendous progress, beating goals and discharging ahead of schedule. “Madonna has been amazing for me, they’ve brought me back together, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

Blake’s family has also valued the level of care he has received, “I got round-the-clock care from nurses, doctors and therapists," said Blake. Grace, always near Blake’s side, shared, “I fought hard to get Blake to the best place. I heard about Madonna from family friends, I was told Madonna makes miracles happen.”