Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Survivor Stories

Many of the TSN members have shared their experiences about life after injury and the road to recovery. A selection of these stories is listed below. Reading other’s stories can help you connect to others and not feel alone in your recovery. You may also discover some ideas that may be helpful to you. You may wish to read several stories to get a number of perspectives on injury and recovery.

After joining the TSN you can share your own story with others. Writing about your experiences can help both you and others. You can benefit by taking time to reflect on your injury, how you have coped and where you are on the road to recovery. Other folks can benefit by realizing they are not alone in their recovery. If you are already a TSN member, click here to share your story in the community forum. If you have not registered (it’s free), please register now and then you can share your story.


Featured Survivor


I do not remember the day of my accident, but the stories are scary. My husband told me that we were making our normal Christmas rounds, and we stopped by my mom’s house. She asked if we could help move a tire. When we saw how massive the tractor tire was, we immediately said no, but she was adamant, and so we attempted to help. I was told we stopped for some time because of exhaustion. At that time, we told her that we could not move the tire and she would have to wait until someone else could help. She called my younger brothers (age 8 and 6) to come. My husband and I both knew the tire was too heavy for them, so we proceeded to move the tire again. Shortly after, I lost my footing and the tire fell on both of us. Luckily, my husband managed to wiggle his way from under the tire, however, more of this tire enveloped my body so unfortunately, I was not able to do the same. My husband stayed with me to try to keep me calm while my mom went to get something to help pry me from under the tire. I was told the last thing I said to my husband was I love you, before passing out. The ambulance arrived but the crew was unable to get the tire off me, so they called the fire department. It took 6 men to free me from the tire. I was down for an unknown amount of time. EMS started CPR with a return of spontaneous circulation after one round of compressions. I was intubated on the scene and transported to the Medical Center, Navicent Health with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of a 3T. I had a severe anoxic brain injury, due to my out of hospital cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, there was a collaboration between specialists, mainly the trauma team and the medical director for the adult Palliative Care service (of the department I work for) to start the normothermia protocol, also known as therapeutic temperature management. My body was only lowered to 36 degrees Celsius due to my shivering versus having seizures. I was posturing and having sympathetic storming. I was transferred to the ICU, where I was in a coma for eight days. I was told that when I woke up, I would constantly repeat things and my short-term memory was seemingly non-existence. I could not hold my arm up against gravity. Read more




In April of 2017 I was on my way home from work, minding my own business. I was riding my motorcycle... Read more


I never thought I would be grateful for a charley horse, but, well, life is weird. On Saturday, June 8th, 2019, Daphne... Read more


My name is Kimberly.  And I am a two time trauma patient.  One left me with facial paralysis and the other left me fighting for my life.. Read more


On May 3rd, 2012, I miraculously survived a near-fatal car accident when my truck was struck by another truck that failed to stop at a 4-way flashing... Read more


The accident occurred in Kentucky while driving in my truck and around 12:30 am, a deer came off the hill and across the road... Read more


My name is Rachel and my accident happened May 13, 2018, which also happened to be Mother’s Day. While riding an electric rentable scooter... Read more


I WAS a victim.  I am a statistic.  More importantly, I am a survivor and an advocate. March 18, 2017 will be a date that I will never forget... Read more


My name is Dylan and I’m 26 years old. In November of 2016, I made a big move from Connecticut to San Diego... Read more


I'm so grateful to have a life that makes me happy, an amazing husband, a career that gives me so much fulfillment and... Read more


On November 11, 2016 my life changed in more ways than one. It all started out as a normal day. I had gone to work that day... Read more


On August 17, 2002, while working for the National Park Service as a wildland firefighter, I was deployed to a large wildfire in Oregon when I haphazardly fell about 20-25 feet down a ravine, into a river nearly drowning...Read more


On November 5, 2016 I was hanging out with friends and fell from the balcony. I was 3 stories up, and as a result of my fall, sustained a T-12 spinal cord injury (SCI). When I woke up I was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)...  Read more


My story begins one month after graduating from high school. I was coming home from swim practice, and I was involved in a near fatal car accident. The impact of the crash shifted my heart across my chest and collapsed my lungs. Just like my dreams for the future... Read More


On March 1, 2008, while riding an ATV around his grandfather’s farm, Jason came in contact with a power line that was down. 7200 volts of electricity rushed through his body leading to severe traumatic injuries. Jason was air lifted...Read More 

Watch Jason's Video


While riding his bicycle home from school at lunch to feed his dog, David was t-boned by a distracted driver who ran a red light at a busy intersection. His body slammed into the windshield, launched 10 feet into the air and crashed into the pavement... Read More


In October 2011, I had been married to my high school sweet heart for a year.  I had already gone through brain surgery and a diagnosis of Lupus. We had recently moved and started new jobs together...  Read More


As a tree surgeon March 22, 2016 was a beautiful day to be climbing. I was at the top of a very mature pine tree and descended between 50 to 60 feet to finish removing the top from over a home... Read More

Watch Chonci's Video

Sgt. Russell

My story began on March 13, 2012. As a Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant, I was making a routine traffic stop in the middle of the night, and my car was hit by a tractor-trailer... Read More


Nick was involved in a motorcycle crash in April 2015. He had a lengthy hospital course, being discharged... Read More


My name is Jimmy and I was the victim of multiple gun shots. In October 2015, I was admitted to University of Tennessee Medical Center... Read More


On September 16th, 2013, I was on my way back to work. I had been at a post-natal doctor’s appointment... Read More


I was in a high speed motorcycle wreck June 21st 2009. I was going 130mph on my Sportbike on the interstate... Read More


On May 9, 2011 my work day started out as most days with a meeting at a local coffee shop with a few co-workers ... Read More


In February of 1985, I was in a single car accident which left me a C6-C7 incomplete quad. But first, a little back ground. I was born in Michigan..Read More



A few days after Christmas 2013, I was repairing a window in our home. Unfortunately, in the process I fell out of the window... Read More

Watch Doug's Video


During the summer of 2005, Nan Reilly was enjoying a day at the beach with her family and friends. It was a wonderful day until ... Read More



 On November 30th, 2011, after an intense morning of working with my son and his autism therapy team, I decided to go into our local climbing gym... Read More




On June 25th, 1994 I was getting ready to cross the street when about a 20 mph gust of wind blew off an unsecured section of roof....Read More


In December 2011 I survived a major accident with the terrific help of Dr Toan Huynh and the Trauma Team at Carolinas Medical Center ins......Read More


October 31, 2011: Halloween. A day that will forever be etched in my memory. I rode my Harley Davidson to work that morning...Read More


On August 23, 2005 I was in a motorcycle accident. To this day I still don’t remember the accident but have been told by a witness I knew...Read More


September 21, 2010. The day I thought my life was over. The day I thought I would never walk again. The day I thought I would never hold or be...Read More


My name is Paul Peterson. I am 21 years old above knee amputee. I have been involved in several sports since I was a child. Track and field...Read More


This is my story of losing a lot but gaining much more at the same time. My motor vehicle accident occurred on June 2, 2006. This.. Read More


It was September 12, 2010. I was out partying with some friends. We received a call from a friend of one my friends to see if we wanted... Read More


My injury occurred in March 1994. I went for a mountain bike ride on some local trails. At one point I went down a short steep hill, hit some... Read More


The cause of my trauma was from a motor vehicle accident June 11, 2009. I was extricated and airlifted to University of MD Shock Trauma... Read More


Scott had two semesters left in graduate business school in August 2001, when a car, traveling at high speed, hit him when he was walking in a street… Read More


I arrived home after my first year at Roanoke College. It was a fun and exciting year. I played field hockey and lacrosse, took part in the Outdoor Adventures Club, and had made many new friends… Read More


My trauma experience happened Nov 20th 1982. A friend and I were traveling home from a mutual friend’s house. Another driver, who had fallen asleep at the wheel… 
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In March 1991, I was in a head-on car crash with both cars going approximately 60 mph. I had my two sons (ages 3 and 13) with me… Read More



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