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Virginia Man Returns to Work, Welcomes Son After Rehabilitation for a Brain Injury

Caleb Faulkner continues to make gains four years after motorcycle crash.

Caleb Faulkner, 33, works a job that takes him to shipyards on the Chesapeake-Norfolk-Virginia Beach coastline. As a field engineer for Scientific Research Corporation, Caleb works on intricate, classified systems for ships going out to sea. He was on his way to a ship one September morning in 2013 when he lost control of his motorcycle and was hit by a car. The crash left Caleb with eight broken ribs and a decimated right knee, but the biggest blow was the traumatic brain injury he acquired. He was in a coma for six weeks, woke up on Halloween and then transferred to Shepherd Center from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.

“For the longest time, I didn’t understand what I was doing there and why I was in groups with patients talking about their brain injuries,” Caleb says. “I knew I was in a wheelchair and my knee was messed up, but it took me a while to understand what was going on in my head.”

During his time at Shepherd Center's Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program, mental exercises and activities got his brain firing again. Speech and vocational therapy tested his recall and deductive reasoning skills. His long-term memory proved to be fine, but his short-term memory was a work in progress. By January 2014, he was back up to processing speed and plotting a return to life.

It took another year and a half, including ongoing vocational therapy, major surgery on his right knee and additional physical therapy, but by August 2015, Caleb was back at work, same job as before. He was also back to scuba diving and being a foodie, alongside his wife Danielle. He also earned his bachelor’s degree from Charleston Southern University in May 2016.

“It’s taken a lot of adjusting to the way I do things now,” Caleb says, “and to the way I remember and communicate, but it’s all working.”

He takes extensive longhand notes to keep his short-term memory sharp, and he has calendars that surround him everywhere. Of course, he might need those calendars even if he didn’t have a brain injury. Caleb and his wife Danielle just had their first child, Eli, in March 2017. “I’m adjusting again,” Caleb says with a laugh, “this time to his schedule!”

For more information on Brain Injury rehabilitation at Shepherd Center, click here

Written 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.