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A Life Interrupted

by | Jul 14, 2015 | Brain Health | 0 comments

A Life Interrupted: The Tim Bransfield Story

A Story of One Man’s Courage

In the summer of 2002, Tim Bransfield had it all. He had just graduated from Masconomet high school in Topsfield, Massachusetts, where he was a popular student and the star of his baseball team. He was just weeks away from beginning a new life in college on a full sports scholarship. Then, late one night, Tim crashed his mother’s car head-on into a tree at eighty miles per hour, and, as he says in his book, “everything went dark.” Tim spent the next sixty days deep in a coma, finally waking to find that his world had changed forever.

The traumatic brain injury Tim sustained as a result of his car accident and the symptoms he experienced are not unique. But Tim’s courage and drive to overcome adversity are. His role model was and still is Michael Jordan, who didn’t make the varsity basketball team in high school, but still went on to become one of the biggest basketball stars of all time. Every chapter of Tim’s book, A Life Interrupted, includes a motivational quote from Michael Jordan. Chapter One starts with this Michael Jordan quote that sums up much of what Tim is trying to convey throughout his book: [vc_row background_color=”#ead3e8″ padding_top=”10″ padding_bottom=”10″] [vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1499797190211{padding-top: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;}”]

“If you’re trying to achieve greatness, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them: everyone has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

                                    – Michael Jordan

"A Life Interrupted" written by Tim Bransfield features Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler.In his inspiring book, Tim relays what it was like to be popular and admired, only to see so many of his so-called friends (and his girlfriend) vanish as a result of the symptoms and disabilities from his accident. He describes what it felt like to have a dream and a plan and a strong social network, and then to have all of that ripped away. Tim experienced deep feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, and he shares with his readers the things that motivated him to continue getting out of bed in the mornings, including his love of baseball and his desire to attend college. He discusses the way his mother was his saving grace, along with the friends who stuck by him, his dog, the inspiring words of Michael Jordan, and his faith in God. Each new day was a struggle for Tim, bringing with it a choice either to succumb to the pain of his loss or to seek the courage to try to move forwards. Finally, Tim decided that he was being challenged to find a new purpose in life, and he took the first steps towards recovery.

The first time I heard about Tim was in my local newspaper, the Tri-Town Transcript. An article reported that a prominent baseball player from the local high school was in a coma following a horrific car accident. Touched by Tim’s story, I picked up the phone and called his mother, but as Tim was still in a coma, there wasn’t much I could do for him — yet.

In October 2003, Tim started working with me in the area of neurofeedback. The purpose of our work together was to improve his executive cognitive function, essentially helping him to think more clearly. Tim had severe problems with both long-term and short-term memory. When he starting working with me, he could not remember three words you said to him, or tell you what he had for breakfast that day.

Over the course of our neurofeedback work, Tim made great progress. But there were large chunks of his memory that were permanently lost, or so I thought. As I wrote in my introduction to Tim’s book, I’d always been taught to believe that when a person has severe memory loss due to a trauma, any new information coming in during the accident and in the early stages of recovery would not be permanently registered in the brain. But through Tim, I discovered that what I had been trained to believe was not true. There was an event that happened in my office that changed everything, a moment when Tim referred to someone on my team whom he had met many times, but who he had never been able to recall before. With continued work, Tim was actually able to remember everything that had happened to him since the accident. And Tim gave me the gift of discovering something I hadn’t known before — that all of the cells in our bodies record all of our experiences, and with the right stimulus, as Tim received in my office, lost memories can actually be retrieved. This was a major breakthrough in my understanding of lost memories.

In his book, Tim speaks not only of the experience of retrieving memories themselves, but also of how supported he felt by those who cared about him during the process, even when he had trouble recalling specific memories. Armed with his own belief in himself as well as the belief of others who cared about him, Tim was able to gain the strength and courage to regain his life and to write his book. When Tim asked me to write the introduction to A Life Interrupted, it warmed my heart to know how far he had come since his brain injury.

  The next phase for Tim is to go out into the world promoting his book and learning how to make the most of social media. Tim wants to become a professional motivational speaker, so that he can help others overcome the obstacles in their paths the way that he did. As a member of the National Speakers Association, I will be happy to help him there again. When Tim is ready, I will have him join me at various meetings, to help him gain the tools he will need to begin this new journey.

If you’ve had a brain injury and are looking for hope, courage, inspiration, and motivation, I highly recommend Tim’s book.

Tim’s book A Life Interrupted – The Tim Bransfield Story can be purchased on his website

-Dr. Diane


Dr. Diane® Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
7 Hodges Street
N. Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (800) 500-9971
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Dr. Diane is a catalyst for change

Image Credit Elaine Boucher

Within each person shines an inner light that illuminates our path and is the source of hope. Illness, trauma, suffering and grief can diminish the light and shroud hope. I am a catalyst for hope and change, offering a way to rekindle this inner light.

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