90-year-old woman survives traumatic brain injury, works back towards a normal life

90-year-old woman survives brain injury

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - March is brain injury awareness month.

The Brain Injury Association is working to de-stigmatize brain injuries, with the theme, ‘change your mind.’

One Lake Area woman survived a traumatic brain injury, and is on her way back to a normal life.

Snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and parasailing in Cozumel are all things you’d expect a 20-something to be doing.

Barbara Gayle is doing them at 90 years old.

“Going out to the symphony, going out to dinner, going out to lunch, and going to Cozumel," Gayle said.

Recently, all of that was nearly taken away from her.

“My heart rate dropped to the twenties, and I passed out," Gayle said. "And, I’m not sure how long I was on the floor unconscious.”

She suffered a traumatic brain injury from the fall.

She was taken to Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, where she was faced with the long road to recovery.

“She was classified with a mild traumatic brain injury," Dr. Alyson Jones said. "So, they’ll have the vertigo, they’ll have the headaches, nausea.”

Dr. Jones is the director of the rehab unit at Memorial.

She said while you can have a great quality of life again after brain injury, one thing she wants people to know is how much work it takes to get there.

“It does take a long time, even for the mild ones to improve," Jones said. "So, it takes patience on the patients end, and it also takes understanding on the families end.”

Gayle said for anyone who is faced with a brain injury, her best advice, is just to never give up.

She’s living proof that there is hope on the other side.

“I’m going to be back in the water," Gayle said. "Got a sale fish last year, looking for a Marlin this year.”

If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury, the Brain Injury Association of America has lots of resources, as well as more information about Brian Injury Awareness Month.

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