Support and Access to Quality Care Makes All the Difference

juliaAs a 15-year-old avid snowboarder, I was excited to spend a day of Spring Break on the ski hill.  I remember a few moments from that fateful morning in 1999, and my last memory for the next week was taking my snowboard off the car.

Boarding down the face of Whitefish Resort with a friend, I headed into the tree trails. Somehow I managed to hit a tree with my head, and I fell into the tree well.  Luckily, I had lost my hat on impact, and an off-duty ski patrol noticed it and found me.  I had sustained a severe brain injury and was airlifted to the hospital.

When becoming fully conscious after the accident, I was like a child again. There was frontal lobe damage to my brain and concerns about my balance, coordination, and social skills.  I spent some time in the Intensive Care Unit, and then I was released to in-patient rehabilitation.

My road to recovery began with a focus on basic life skills that I had previously mastered in elementary school.  I attended physical, speech, and occupational therapies. Practicing the skills of alphabetization, sequencing events, writing out shopping lists, and finding my way around the inside of buildings was part of my therapy.  Even humor (particularly sarcasm) was a concept that I practiced during my rehabilitation. Memory difficulties were a primary concern for me, and I struggled to find three items that I had hid 30 minutes earlier in a small room.

Having family for support and access to quality care made all the difference in my recovery.

Brain injuries are life-altering events and often cause medical conditions that can show up years later.  This makes it extremely important for on-going education regarding prevention and treatment.

Helmets were not commonly used in winter sports at the time of my accident.  Had I been wearing a helmet, my injury probably would have been less severe.  Today, I am a huge advocate for helmet use in all sports.  Being involved in brain injury education and awareness is very important.

Montana ranks third highest in the nation for brain injury fatalities and faces significant challenges in the delivery of acute and long-term care for individuals living with a brain injury. 

Your generous support of the Providence Montana Health Foundation Brain Injury – Neuroscience program, no matter the size of your gift, will make available public and professional brain injury education, promote prevention strategies, and offer quality rehabilitation for patients.

Please join me in supporting Providence Montana Health Foundation’s Brain Injury – Neurosciences program by making a donation today


Julia Hammond

Donate Now