Since the age of three, Dillon Terry has loved motorcross. “It is his passion,” his mother Diana said. “He is hooked.” Competing across the state of Texas, Dillion honed his skills and gradually gained national attention. However, on June 27, 2010 at the age of 13, Dillon’s life was forever changed. During a competition, Dillon crashed and was thrown 15 feet into the air, landing on his head.
“He landed perfectly wrong,” his mother said. “He didn’t know where he was, what his name was, or the names and faces of anyone else. He didn’t even know me. None of us knew what was in store.”
Dillon’s devastating crash caused dozens of microscopic shearing tears throughout his brain. He spent 13 months in outpatient therapy learning how to dress himself, brush his teeth, how to write, and how to read.
“We had to completely start over. My teenager was essentially a toddler again,” Diana said.
A year after his accident, Dillon began working with Dr. Lori Cook at the Center for BrainHealth.
“BrainHealth research has shown that recovery from a pediatric brain injury can be a life-long process due to the nature of the developing brain,” said Dr. Cook, who personally oversaw Dillon's treatment. “When I first met Dillon, he demonstrated difficulties in certain academic and behavioral areas."
Pediatric traumatic brain injury research programs at the Center for BrainHealth enabled scientists to train and monitor Dillon’s recovery of important cognitive, social and emotional functioning abilities months after his initial brain injury. Through Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART), scientists taught Dillon how to more effectively assimilate, manage and utilize information, skills that are crucial for academic success and overall brain function in daily life.
“After SMART, Dillon showed improvements in several areas, including his ability to interpret what he is reading and express important ideas from it as well as his ability to use critical thinking skills to abstract the deeper-level meanings from complex information,” Dr. Cook said. “His mother also reported improvements in areas that SMART did not train specifically, including emotional control, initiation, working memory, planning, and organizational abilities.”
“The SMART program has been life-changing. Dillon can now be home schooled and can complete assignments without feeling overwhelmed,” Diana said.
“I can sort through what is there and decide what is important. SMART has helped me,” Dillon said.