ST. LOUIS — One out of 60 Americans are living with a permanent brain injury-related disability. March is nationally recognized as Brain Injury Awareness Month and for Julianne Jurs, the month holds significant meaning. In May 2019, she almost lost her husband Ben.
A hit-and-run car accident on I-55 ejected Ben from his vehicle. Nurses on the scene brought him back to life, but the odds were slim. Severe brain trauma had occurred.
“I was told numerous times that he would never wake up. That he would always be on life support,” she said.
Ben spent the next month in a coma at St. Louis University Hospital.
“He had less than a 2% chance to survive and I was willing to take that 2% chance,” Julianne said.
A gamble that paid off. Later this month, Ben turns 36. What was improbable three years ago has now become a milestone.
“A miracle from there on out,” Julianne said. “He had to learn how to walk, how to talk, how to swallow, how to eat. He had to relearn everything.”
“I think one of the hardest parts is that point where you reach acceptance that you are no longer functioning at the way that you used to,” said Dr. Aaron Doubet, Fontbonne University Speech Pathologist. “And I think that’s the hardest part to be able to overcome.”
Numerous times a week, Ben visits Fontbonne University for cognitive therapy. Today’s trip finds an additional layer of support, their 4-year-old son, Carter. The journey will continue for the three of them with each passing day with an opportunity to create new memories.
“I knew he was strong before the accident but he’s proven that he’s the strongest person that I know,” Julianne said.
Ben is a longtime fan of the St. Louis Blues and he plans on rooting for the Redbirds full-time next month.
For more information on Brain Injury Awareness Month, visit biausa.org.