TJ's Story

TJ Bozeman after rehabilitation

Traumatic brain injury

TJ Bozeman, a 33-year-old retired professional baseball player, real estate agent and devoted father, emerged victorious after a life-altering accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. TJ's journey of recovery began following an unforgettable New Year's Eve.

"I don't remember the accident," TJ reflected. "All I recall is spending time with my friend and his wife after work. It was New Year’s Eve and I fell."

Swiftly, TJ was rushed to Limestone Medical Center by his concerned friends. There, he underwent a series of medical procedures, including a PEG tube, tracheostomy and EVD to address the immediate aftermath of his injury.

TJ faced a daunting road to recovery, encountering challenges that tested his resilience. Walking, standing and even following simple tasks proved to be difficult. He also battled vision loss and worked diligently to regain his ability to swallow and eat.

Once he stabilized, TJ transferred to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Lakeway. Upon admission, a physician-led team of dedicated therapists became his pillars of support, guiding him toward achieving his rehabilitation goals.

TJ set his sights on regaining his leg strength, improving his swallowing abilities and restoring his independence. The compassionate therapists at BSWIR - Lakeway spared no effort in helping him progress toward these milestones. They encouraged him during workouts, challenged his cognitive abilities and consistently reminded him of effective swallowing strategies.

For TJ, there were several key turning points that marked his journey to recovery. The joy of walking unaided, the removal of his tracheostomy and the ability to eat again brought him immense hope and renewed determination. He recalled, “Being able to shower and go to the restroom on my own physically,” was a crucial moment in his rehabilitation journey.

While some therapies and activities were daunting, TJ recognized their importance in his recovery. Cognitive tests and exercises that improved his balance pushed him to new limits. He particularly enjoyed the cooking simulation and speech therapy activities that nurtured his communication skills.

TJ's family stood by him throughout his rehabilitation process. They provided constant support, urging him to persevere and reminding him of his capabilities. Family members and friends visited regularly, showering him with love and even assisting with everyday tasks, such as laundry and providing nourishing meals once he could eat again.

As TJ's departure from BSWIR - Lakeway drew near, he eagerly anticipated the freedom to live life on his terms. No longer bound by hospital routines, he yearned for independence and the ability to make his own decisions.

When asked what advice he would offer to others facing similar challenges, TJ shared this wisdom: “Truly believe and trust in yourself to commit. You’ll go home one day and be back to normal.”

Reflecting on his experience at BSWIR - Lakeway, TJ warmly praised the hospital's dedicated staff. "Everyone had a reason to be there," he says. “My therapists deserve huge credit. From being the most down-to-earth and laid back individuals, straight to no mercy whatsoever when it came down to my health and wellness. No shortcuts were taken. [They had a] consistent attitude every day and took care of business and full care of me. I’m not an emotional man, but that is one thing I will never forget. They’re one of the reasons why I’m physically able to move forward each and every day. If you’ve met me, you’d never known I suffered a TBI. I don’t talk about it and if I am ever questioned about it, I don’t go into detail. It’s one of those things that you’ve heard about your entire life, but you will never understand a fraction of it unless you experience it yourself. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.”