By looking at Brendan Wiese, now 32-years-old, you would never know that in 2004 he had been air lifted to University Hospital by Air Care. It was November 29, and the Cincinnati Bengals had just finished a regular season home game. Wiese, an avid Bengal’s fan, decided to walk across the bridge and go to a local bar district, where his close friends and he celebrated the game.
“When you are young you feel like you have no inhibitions,” said Wiese. “I was just a kid out having a great time I never thought that the events of that evening would happen to me.”
Wiese made the choice to get into his car at the end of the evening to drive home. While heading across the Clay-Wade Bailey Bridge his car hit a retaining wall, flipped and slid over 50 feet. He narrowly missed flipping over the wall and down 20 feet to the streets below.
“My accident started my 28-day ‘nap,’” Wiese said half-heartedly. “I don’t remember anything but was told I was air lifted to University.”
Upon his arrival, Wiese had broken his entire left side of his face—from his jaw to his occipital lobe. His left hand was what doctors called “de-gloved” meaning his skin was entirely peeled away from the bone and, most importantly, he was in a coma with very little brain function.
“I truly believe that I would have never made it through had it not been for my family and my team of caregivers,” said Wiese. “I have four sisters and they are all brilliant, they told me that my doctors and nurses treated them with the utmost respect and were very forthright and honest about my condition.”
At one point, Wiese’s physicians started to prepare his family for a lifetime of their son and brother living in a vegetative state. However, after 28 days, Wiese was coming around, his vitals were picking up and the other injuries he sustained were healing. For the next two years, Wiese spent his time going through extensive rehabilitation from his accident. He would go back and forth between assisted nursing care at the Manor Care Center to the Drake Center.
“I spent so much time going through rehab,” explained Wiese. “I had to literally re-learn everything cognitive wise. I couldn’t hear out of my left side and since I was left-handed and my left hand was injured so badly, I had to learn to write again.”
Wiese still struggles with reading, his short term memory and his vision. Every day is an opportunity for rehabilitation.
To see Wiese now, however, is like seeing an entirely new man. No longer is he someone without direction or purpose, but now he is someone who has graduated from the University of Cincinnati. He has worked in the financial field and is now a personal trainer who is working on another degree in physical therapy.
“I have been told that I have recovered 300%!” exclaimed Wiese. “I have direction, goals, and aspirations—I am not that crazy kid anymore.”
Today Wiese works on building his own mind, body and soul while helping other work on their mind, body and soul. Every first Friday of the month, he visits patients who were in similar situations as he was in and teaches brain teasers and activities.
“It is so important to work out not only your body, but your mind,” said Wiese. “I still struggle with my memory and speech everyday, but by reading books and doing crosswords puzzles and any other mind stimulating activities; I only get better and stronger over time.”