Life with a traumatic brain injury: The Ty Griffen story

Updated: Jun. 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - From the outside, Ty Griffen looks like a normal 26-year-old. He graduated from McNeese State University and was a pitcher on the baseball team.

But for the last year, Ty's life is a blur.

Waters were high in a Cameron Marsh where Ty was boating a year ago. When the driver went under a bridge, Ty's head scraped the bottom of it, cracking his skull.

"I had a feeling they weren't telling me everything," says Cathy Griffen, Ty's mom. "But when I drove up, there were about 200 people there; people I knew everywhere. So I knew that something was really wrong, that maybe he had passed. When I got out of my car, I thought my husband was going to faint and he just started bawling in my arms and he just said he's not going to make it because the doctors told him he had a 0.05 percent chance to live."

Doctors believed Ty would be brain dead if he survived at all, but he defied all odds. Still, even a year later, things are fuzzy.

"The memory thing is still a big shock to me," Griffen says, "Like it's hard to believe he still thinks he's 24."

Through therapy and help from his mom and girlfriend, Taylor, Ty is making progress. "He has his moments of agitation, which I think anyone would in his position," says Taylor Dupont, Ty's girlfriend, "But he's quick to apologize and correct it and redirect it, you just can't stop loving him. He' s a sweetheart."

Ty has his cognitive functions, but with everything else, he needs his mom and Taylor's assistance."I help feed him, give him showers, take him to the restroom, whole nine yards, help him with therapy, anything they need, that's what I'm here for," Dupont adds.

Dupont says the most frustrating part of it all, is the unknown.

"Everything has been up in the air," Dupont says, "No one knows because every brain injury is so unique and you're trying to make decisions about your life and your career and where you'll live, but you don't really know anything. So, you can't really make a decision when there's nothing to base a decision off of."

But for the Griffen family, getting Ty back to a new normal is their number one priority. And his girlfriend, Taylor, plans to stick by his side.

"I care about him a lot, I don't know.  Maybe I'm crazy, but we've had a lot of hope and prayers and I just have hope and prayers that he'll make a full enough recovery that we can end up together someday," Taylor says.

The Griffen family is working with doctors in the Lake Area, New Orleans and in Southeast Texas to get Ty the best therapies for his condition. His next obstacle to overcome is learning how to walk again.

You can watch Ty's journey here.

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