Each month, Brain Buddies is featuring one of our incredible team member’s and their story of their TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) battle. This month, we’d like you to meet Casey Shivers, a member who has been battling brain and heart issues his whole life.

Unlike most TBI’s, Casey’s battle wasn’t caused by an accident or sports injury. Instead, Casey was born with a rare heart condition that led him down a path of resilience and dedication to tackling many different hurdles. When a person with a healthy heart gets sick, the infection slides right over the heart valves and the rest of the body can take care of it. However, when someone has a bad valve, the valves get sticky over time. And over time, Casey’s valve had been overused and prone to “sticking” infections.

On July 15, 2015, Casey was found within two hours of being dead. He had gotten bronchitis two weeks prior, and that infection caused another infection that went straight to his brain.The infection continued to cause havoc by forming masses that swelled and pressed on his brain stem, causing two small strokes in addition to the brain injury. The results led to extensive vision problems, including a pale pink optic nerve in his left eye and limited vision out of his right eye. The other stroke caused problems too, mainly around his lack of verbal strength, i.e. troubles with his words. He also has problems with short term memory.
But this didn’t stop Casey from fighting. After extensive therapy, fast forward to today and he is doing much better in all areas, with the exception of his vision. He still has a lot of therapy ahead of him, and his TBI is a very real battle, but the progress he has made is quite impressive. Rebecca, his Mother, says “The Doctors told us it would be a very long road, and it is. But we are beyond proud of what he’s accomplished and continues to accomplish.” It was right after his last series of strokes when Casey’s family decided to find a support group with members and families who were fighting the same battles. Through the Brain Injury Association, an amazing Brain Buddies partner, they had given the family contact information for Brain Buddies. The rest as they say, is history! Casey’s favorite part about being a part of the group is feeling included, and having a supportive group with members who have had the same experiences as him. They are all supported and uplifted through each and every members’ journey, and empower each other every day! TBI’s are a real issue that needs to be addressed and recognized for the impact they have on an individual, their family, and friends. Casey says, “It is something that lots of people have to go through, and it is not always an obvious problem. People need to be aware that it is a real thing and it does create challenges, but challenges that can be overcome.” Do you have a friend or family member battling a TBI? We want to meet them! Head to our website to learn more about how Brain Buddies can help: www.brainbuddies-stl.com