Accident survivor creates support community for traumatic brain injury

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 29 at 5:42 PM

ANNA - Many doubted 28-year-old Michael Black would ever walk on his own again.

Last year, Black was thrown from his SUV in a single-car, roll-over accident. Part of his skull had to be removed because of brain swelling.

Some doctors predicted his injury was so severe, Black would live in a vegetative state, at best.

"A lot of the information was devastating to us," Bernadette Coleman said. "We almost had no hope."

According to the CDC, 1.7-million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury annually. Brain injury also contributes to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability.

As Black emerged from a coma, fought off infection, and fought his way back to life, his family was discouraged and surprised they couldn't find online support for traumatic brain injury.

At one point during recovery, Black came up with the idea to start his own website, called TryMunity. It's an online community for survivors and families trying to beat bad odds.

He launched the dot-com on the first anniversary of his life-altering tragedy.

"You can talk to people who have survived and going through the same problems you have," Black said. "And it helps you out real good to know there are people going through the same things you are."

Black still has memory and motor problems.  But, with the help of Pate Rehabilitation, and support from real-life and cyber friends, he's taking steps toward being independent again.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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