Patients & Families
In February of 2013 Will Stephan suffered a traumatic brain injury during a competitive league basketball game, but no one knew. “I did not think anything of the fall because he got up after being dazed and trotted off the court himself,” his mother Marjorie Davis-Trimm explains.
The following morning things took a turn for the worse when Marjorie couldn’t wake Will up for school. After taking him to the pediatrician, he was diagnosed with a concussion. It didn’t seem like a bad one because his reflexes were great and he was coherent; however, two days after seeing his pediatrician, things got really bad and it was obvious there was more wrong. Will started to slur his speech and forget simple things such as unbuckling his seatbelt before getting out of the car. After being referred to a doctor at the Concussion Clinic at Children’s Hospital, the neurological response tests immediately showed Will was not remotely “ok”.
Concussions affect children differently because symptoms often linger or increase in severity without proper adjustments to a child’s environment or academic routine. As part of his brain rest, Will was not permitted to watch TV, read, listen to music or be in bright light. He grew faint after going somewhere for more than 30 minutes, and he always had to wear sunglasses due to light sensitivity. Will’s recovery has been a long and tedious journey, but Children’s Harbor has been right by his side through the 13 month recovery.
The Family Center has been a wonderful refuge for Will and his mom, Marjorie, through the recovery. “We were grasping at straws, not knowing where to turn; however, when we found Children’s Harbor through a mutual friend, everything began to get better. It wears on you and you just get tired. The counseling has made all the difference in the world, because of the standard of care Liz Gunter provided we were able to figure out things faster.” Furthermore she explained because of Liz’s experience and access to Children’s Hospital they were able to easily link up with a neurologist when Will was having seizures during his recovery.
“The first thing Will said about Children’s Harbor was, “Finally! Somebody besides you (meaning me) understands!” It was a big relief for him.” - Marjorie Davis-Trimm, Will’s Mom
When Marjorie first talked about going to a counselor with Will he was only concerned with “was the counselor going to be cool”. To Will’s delight Liz was definitely the coolest counselor because she would go play basketball or ping-pong with him after their sessions in the Family Center. “It was just awesome for a kid who wasn’t able to go to school and participate in activities. He really looked forward to all of his sessions with Liz,” said Marjorie. Throughout the recovery Liz was a great source of knowledge for Marjorie and Will and an asset to the collaborative team of professionals who saw Will through his traumatic brain injury recovery. “She’s been a great person to bounce ideas off to about what I as a parent should be doing to help him in his recovery. It really helped with my stress over his recovery, said Marjorie.
Just before Will’s 11th birthday, he told his mom that he wanted to do something nice for Children’s Harbor after he learned that Children’s Harbor relies on donations to provide services free of charge. “I want to show up at Children’s Harbor pulling a red wagon filled with needed supplies,” Will told his mother. In honor of his caring personality, Will’s family organized a drive around the community. Most of the donations came from Will’s brother’s Homewood middle school Christian based group, Homewood Men Striving for Success. Marjorie was just overjoyed with the commitment the group showed for the drive. “We are going to bless the socks off Children’s Harbor, said Steve Sills, the sponsor for Men Striving for Success. Other groups that participated include Vestavia Hills Baptist Church choir group and Hamburger Heaven in Homewood.
In December 2013 Will’s wish to bring a red wagon full of supplies for Children’s Harbor became a reality. Since there were so many donations it took many red wagons to bring all of the supplies into the Family Center and the help of the Homewood Men Striving for Success group. As you can see in the picture below a fun time was had by all bringing in the donations. “We’ve had many blessings along the recovery path. And Children’s Harbor has been a big part of that. I’m so grateful we were not left alone to figure out all of the obstacles Will has had to face in his recovery,” Marjorie said.