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Hamilton County man shares story of recovery after suffering traumatic brain injury

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — In November 2020, Bob Parker described his life as going “full throttle.”

Things were going well with his career and he had just returned from his daughter’s wedding in Nashville, Tennessee. Then, one day, he was on a drive when life as he knew it took a dramatic turn.

“Last thing I remember seeing was the truck darting from the right lane toward my lane and that’s where my memory ends right there,” Parker said.

He crashed into another truck that was holding steel rebars. One of those bars came through the windshield and into Parker’s right eye. The accident sent him into a coma and into the care of Dr. Charles Kulwin with Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine.

“Bob had, in addition to the bruising on his brain and to the nerves to his eyes, had really caved in and destroyed the right side of his face and skull and eye socket,” Kulwin said.

It took 10 days for Parker to wake up, but when he did, his wife Angie says he was acting like his old self. Even during what doctors expected to be a long road to recovery, Kulwin admired Parker’s attitude toward the process.

“For most people that have been through what he’s been through, that’s a lot to ask somebody to swallow,” Kulwin said. “He was just so upbeat and gung ho about it and I’ve come to find out that’s really the person that he is. Through it all he’s just been an amazing guy.”

At first, Kulwin and his team weren’t too sure Parker could fully recover from such a traumatic event. Then, to Kulwin’s amazement, Parker’s vision and his brain were steadily got stronger.

Now, Parker and Kulwin have a bond that goes beyond the operating room. They are just two of the many doctors and patients who are trying to gain more support for research going toward traumatic brain injuries.

Kulwin says people like Parker inspire him to continue in the fight with events like the Brain Bolt 5K, a race that helps Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine raise money and make people more aware of where things are and where progress needs to be made.

“I tell my patients, I’ll almost never say never because it’s amazing the things people can recover from,” he said. “Stories like Bob’s really do show that it’s a long road but it does happen.”

Visit the Brain Bolt 5K website to learn more about the race and donate to the cause.

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