Former Patient Returns to His Passion After Rehabilitation for a Brain Injury
Diego Delfino of Atlanta, Georgia, helps others turn their musical talent into careers.
Diego Delfino, 29, cannot remember life without music at the center of it. He began playing piano at age five. When he looks back at home videos of growing up in his native Argentina, Diego laughs at how often he’s singing.
“I think once I discovered music, I started putting a soundtrack to my whole life, even as a little kid,” he says.
Appropriate, then, that Diego fell in love with music composition as a student at Louisiana State University, where he double-majored in music and business. After graduating, he began composing music, creating orchestral scores and editing sound for television, film, theater and the internet. Diego also found gratifying work as a music teacher.
In September 2015, Diego was traveling to Los Angeles to meet with music labels about creating music for movie and television trailers. He’d had some headaches before the trip, which he attributed to stress and too little sleep. In L.A., however, the headaches became so severe he had to go to a hospital. Soon, doctors were performing a craniotomy to remove a benign tumor on Diego’s brain that had led to a brain injury. Doctors also spent 18 hours draining excess fluid from his brain.
“It all happened so quickly,” he says. “I had no idea what I was facing after that.”
To recover from the brain injury, Diego began speech, occupational and vocational therapy at Shepherd Pathways, Shepherd Center’s comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation program for people recovering from brain injury. To help regain his short-term memory, therapists encouraged him to start a daily diary – something he continues doing today. Music, of course, was also incorporated into his rehabilitation.
Today, Diego is back to his passion. He’s a music instructor at the SAE Institute in Atlanta, teaching courses in music production, sound for motion pictures, game audio and more, helping others find a way to turn their musical passion into careers.
He’s also made another trip to L.A. This time, though, it was to propose to his girlfriend, Kristina.
“This was a much happier trip to the West Coast,” Diego says.
The two plan to marry in spring 2017 at Atlanta’s Chattahoochee Nature Center.
By Phillip Jordan
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.