Ryen ~ Recipient of the Jim Dodson Law Scholarship for Brain Injury Victims & Their Caregivers

On Saturday, August 23, 2014 my mom dropped me off at the baseball field where my friend Brian was waiting. We planned a friendly home run contest. I batted first and hit four home runs out of ten pitches. Now it was Brian’s turn. I remember throwing a curve ball. Brian got a hold of it. That ball came back extremely fast and hit me above my right eye. I went to the emergency room where a CT scan showed a fractured skull and bleeding on my brain. I spent the next week in the hospital and was diagnosed with a moderate traumatic brain injury.

Since that Saturday in August, living with my TBI has had its challenges. I have been diagnosed to have “executive dysfunction including verbal working memory, complex cognitive flexibility and organization”. I struggle focusing for longer than 30 seconds, organizing information in my notes and mind, pulling out the main ideas, remembering things and solving problems that require more than one or two steps. I can study and feel like I know the material, but when I am tested, I just can’t get the information in the right places. The TBI symptoms have become more apparent this past year as I take courses that require a higher level of understanding. I get tutored outside of class and I spend hours trying to get things to make sense in my mind. I am serious about school work and I am not afraid of working at it. But I spend a large amount of time spinning my wheels without really making much progress. This is frustrating because I know it takes me much longer to study than most kids and I still only achieve mediocre results.

Although my TBI has created some limitations for me academically, it has not taken away my ability or passion to play baseball. The accident could have scared me out of ever playing again. But, I was determined to not let that happen. I worked through that following winter taking batting practice and working out to build my strength and confidence. I got back into that batter’s box the following season. I am proud to say that 3 years later I will continue to play ball for Minnesota State University in Mankato. Playing college baseball is a dream come true for me.

Being affected by a TBI has presented challenges for me that I have learned to deal with and overcome. In a way, TBI has made me a better person. This experience has shown me that even when I am knocked down (literally), that doesn’t mean I am out. Working hard, being patient, finding courage, staying positive, and leaning on family for support has been my recipe for success.

I want to assure the Jim Dodson Law Scholarship Committee that I am a solid investment of your award and I will work my hardest to earn my bachelor’s degree. Please consider me for this scholarship. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jim Dodson
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.