A Tale of Hope

2015-0217 Dylan Williams
Image Credit: THE WASHINGTON POST Healing power Dylan Williams’s recovery showed the marvels of brain plasticity.

Article by Rebecca Hubert Williams | Gulf News

Two months into his junior year at Tufts University, my son, Dylan, was struck by a car while he was in a crosswalk. The impact was so strong, that Dylan’s head punched a hole through the car’s windshield. He suffered a traumatic brain injury so severe that doctors initially warned he might be permanently disabled, and he might never be able to feed himself again.

When I got the call from the ambulance, I was sitting in a cozy chair reading “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”, in which Nasim Nicholas Taleb argues that we should recognise the disproportionate effects of unexpected events on our lives. Dylan’s accident certainly made that case. An injury suffered in one second overwhelmed our family for months. Instead of studying abroad in Germany as he had planned, Dylan spent the rest of that academic year with doctors and therapists.

Every year, millions of Americans suffer traumatic brain injury, or TBI. When the TBI is as severe as Dylan’s, most victims struggle for years to recover, with varying degrees of success. Dylan has made an extraordinary comeback, one that has surprised and inspired not only his family and friends but also the doctors and nurses who treated him. The neurologist who enrolled my son in a neuroimaging research study said that after examining his initial brain scan, he would have put the odds against Dylan achieving his present capabilities at “10,000 to 1.”


Thanks to Rebecca Hubert Williams for writing the article; Gulf News for committing its resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.

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