Atlanta, GA,
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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.

Learn more about admission to Shepherd Center.

By Phillip Jordan

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.