DISABILITIES


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By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPC, NCC


In my twelve years as a columnist featuring people with disabilities all across America, I've never once encountered a situation quite like this one. The people I'm featuring here this week could use your help in a big way.

On Friday, February 6, 2015, 21-year-old Daniel Mignerey of Sardinia, Ohio, was involved in a two-car accident on busy State Route 32, about 35 miles east of Cincinnati. He was ejected from his vehicle and later airlifted to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, specifically a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Two people in the other car also were airlifted, but with non-life threatening injuries.

Daniel's situation hits close to home because his accident and mine occurred on the exact same Ohio highway, on the same day of the week, and on the same time of day, just 48 years apart. We both had traumatic brain injuries.

Lastly, Daniel was named after me. He is my cousin's youngest son.

From what I've learned, law enforcement officials on the scene thought Daniel couldn't survive the airlift and doctors at the hospital weren't sure he could survive after the necessary operation to relieve pressure on his brain. He has though, and miraculously, including being able to talk, but has a long road ahead to recovery. He also sustained a serious shoulder injury and a fractured knee.

He and his fiancee, Heather, just weeks ago, purchased a home and were scheduled to marry next month.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a TBI “can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” Some common problems a person with a TBI may encounter include thinking, memory, and reasoning issues, sensory processing, communication difficulties, and behavior or mental health issues, including depression.

Often, the greatest challenge facing traumatic brain injury survivors is the loss of old friends, and so they may feel lonely and isolated.

I received permission from Daniel's father to feature Daniel, and permission for readers to send Daniel letters or get-well cards. Write to Daniel Mignerey, PO Box 343, Sardinia OH, 45171. His father, mother, fiancee or siblings can read him what you send. You can also join a special Facebook page, Praying for Daniel, and tell others about it. If you pray, also remember the other people involved in the accident, including a 6-year-old girl.

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