Road to recovery from traumatic brain injury

Greg KingAs a skydiver, Greg King always gave whiskey to the guy who packed his parachute: Your life is in his hands. That’s why he presented a velvet pouch of Crown Royal to Koji Ebersole, MD. The endovascular neurosurgeon and specialists at The University of Kansas Hospital saved Greg’s life after he suffered traumatic brain injuries in a motorcycle accident.

“My life was in his hands,” Greg said, voice cracking with emotion. “And he saved me, 100 percent.”

Highway crash into a deer

On Highway 40 in June 2012, the Topeka man was on his motorcycle headed to Lawrence, Kansas, where he worked. A deer suddenly appeared, and Greg crashed into it. 

The impact broke his ribs, fractured his skull and caused traumatic brain injuries. A lifeflight helicopter delivered Greg in critical condition from a Topeka hospital to The University of Kansas Hospital.

Within 72 hours, the news was even worse. Physicians detected a traumatic aneurysm deep inside Greg’s brain. Because of the position of the aneurysm, traditional surgery wasn’t a treatment option.

Treating a brain aneurysm is considered risky, Dr. Ebersole explained. The aneurysm can rupture during surgery, causing tremendous brain damage – even death.

Innovative new treatment

Only months before, the hospital was first in the region to use a revolutionary, minimally invasive treatment for aneurysms called the Pipeline Embolization Device. Currently, no other hospital in the region offers this innovative treatment.

New Approved Treatment for Brain Aneurysms

Learn more about PED, an innovative new treatment for brain aneurysms.

The PED had rarely been used in trauma cases, but after consulting with colleagues across the country, Dr. Ebersole believed it could save Greg. Not only that, the PED procedure held the potential to return him to a high quality of life.

The procedure was successful. Greg spent six weeks at the hospital, coming back to his family bit by bit. 

“The care he had was just awesome, indescribable,” said Socorro, his wife of 27 years. “The nursing staff in intensive care became like our family.” 

Miracle man

Once at home, Greg tackled physical therapy and occupational therapy with zeal. His daughter, Jessica, one of their three adult children, was his caretaker and cheerleader. 

His hometown newspaper dubbed him “Miracle man” in a front page story on his amazing recovery. What some call miracles, specialists at The University of Kansas Hospital call innovation, which is at the heart of academic medicine.

Learn more about innovative treatments at The University of Kansas Hospital’s Center for Advanced Brain and Neurological Care