Some things happen in life that are so profoundly altering that we need to start completely over. Such is the case of Brandon Jones. At 19 years old, Brandon was involved in a horrific car accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brandon was in the prime of his life. He had a two-year-old daughter, and being that he was in peak physical condition, this was a dramatic reset to a promising future. His injuries were so extensive the doctors gave him a 1% chance of survival. Some people faced with such a monumental obstacle would pack up and call it a day, but not Brandon’s family. Brandon became a Self-Directed Services (SDS) participant, and along with the help of his family, the team at SDS, and a local gym, began his journey to take back his life one excruciating step at a time.  
Brandon Jones finishes an occupational therapy activity with SDS Staff Glenn McClone, an SDS staff member and brain injury certified specialist.
Brandon Jones and his mother, Hope Jones.
Brandon Jones and his father, Gino Jones, enjoying the family pool
Brandon’s journey to get adequate care was not an easy one and it took time to get him into a program that would allow him to have a better quality of life. After the accident occurred, Brandon was admitted into the hospital and went into a coma. He spent seven weeks in a vegetative state before he was then brought to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, NY. There he received phenomenal care, but unfortunately they offered only a five-week program and couldn’t provide support long-term. After some arduous research, his family found a facility farther downstate. Sadly, the care there proved to be very insufficient to fit Brandon’s needs, so Brandon’s mother, Hope, and her husband, Gino, made the difficult decision to take him home and be his sole care providers. To make matters even more difficult, Hope and Gino had to legally apply for sole-care rights to Brandon because of his age.
By this time, Brandon had improved from a vegetative state to a semi-conscious one. Hope and her family went to work, doing everything possible to rehabilitate and take care of Brandon on their own. They created a routine and stuck to it. But although they took excellent care of Brandon, they could only do so much without professional support. Hope is a managing employer with Springbrook SDS, and as it happens, also has a daughter with autism who receives Self-Directed Services. It did not occur to Hope that Brandon could also qualify, until her good friend, Sally, said she should give it a try. It was then that Hope agreed to pursue SDS for Brandon. Today, she feels like it was the best possible outcome for his condition. After the Jones family secured Self-Direction for Brandon, things began to improve almost immediately. Brandon needs 24/7 care because of his particular needs and hazards. With SDS, Brandon could partially reimburse his physical therapy and medical bills, and have a team come in and help maintain and give therapeutics to improve his quality of life.

Before the accident, Brandon was a voracious weightlifter and physical fitness guru. Besides possibly saving his life, this was the catalyst that Hope used to get him into physical therapy.

Glenn McClone, Brandon’s SDS Day Habilitation and Brain Injury Certified Specialist, has worked with Brandon for four years. “We tried everything!” he said. “Occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, whatever Brandon would take to. In the beginning, we would go to Vestal three times a week, but that became unsustainable. We needed a new facility to take over his physical therapy.”

Even with his vast improvements, Hope could tell that Brandon was not completely happy and looked to rectify this situation by getting him into a gym. “We felt the gym & personal training was the best place for Brandon because he was a weightlifter before his accident,” she said. “He spent six-days-a-week in the gym, so there was no better setting for him to regain those skills.”

Hope, Glenn, and the rest of the SDS team brought Brandon to KW Fitness in Vestal, NY. Cory Snow, Brandon’s trainer, and Kevin Webb, owner/operator of the gym, had never worked with anyone with TBI, but were willing to take up the challenge. Extensive research was done, and they came up with a plan. They got on the floor with Brandon and started to teach him exercises from scratch. Brandon’s demeanor began to change instantly, a sparkle in his eyes had returned. “Brandon has progressed mentally, physically, and emotionally since starting at KW,” said Hope. “When he started, he couldn’t even hold his head up. He had no head or neck control, he was not speaking at all and was still mentally in a fog. Since then, he has regained his speech, is understanding and very clear cognitively, and he loves being in the gym with Cory. The atmosphere brings out the best in him.” Glenn reinforces this optimism. “His progress has been amazing!” he said. “At the beginning of this journey, Brandon could not move, his core strength was nil—today, he does 50 to 60 crunches every morning!”

Brandon’s journey has been a difficult one. Although he is much improved, his journey will continue for the rest of his life. But with the help of his family, SDS, and KW Fitness, he is on track to grow and meet new goals every day.

There is a lot of misconception about what Self-Directed Services are. It took time for Hope to realize that this life-changing support was available to her. But once she took the help available, it positively altered the direction of her family’s life. Today, Hope participates in support groups for families in similar situations and acts as a resource for others to help them get the help that they need. Hope is an extremely strong person, and without SDS, it’s certain she would have found a way. But everyone can use a little help sometimes, and we are glad she chose Springbrook to provide her with the support she, her family, and Brandon deserve.

House Modifications

Brandon has a diversity of tools and home modifications made possible by Self-Directed Services.
Images of van apparatus created by Access Unlimited in Binghamton, NY. House modifications – elevator, bathroom

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This