My Point Of View
By Paul Coskie, age 16, 2004
To this day, I still believe the accident that occurred on September 6, 2001, has an effect on my attitude and views on life. It definitely proved to me that life is delicate. Though I have seensome hard times, doctors and therapists really helped me through my hardship. I know too, that I never could have come so far without the help of my family.
The first stages of my consciousness I do not remember very well. I do remember feeling that most everyone now thought of me as less of a person. People coming in and talking to me as if I were a baby really got me down for a while. My best friend, who had awakened me from my coma, was always a great motivational support. He never doubted that I was stronger than that car and that I could come out of that haze of injury just fine; that’s why Thomas my cousin was still talking to me and telling me jokes when I was fully unconscious. Not everyone can say that a scab joke saved his or her life; I woke up laughing.
Coming back to my hometown was very difficult after I was in the hospital for so long. Everyone was nice to me and all, friendly, but I could easily see past that. After I got used to being around so many people again, I could tell most of my peers were just almost mocking me by being so friendly. Because I was feeling this, I lost a lot of trust in them, and as they realized I was not as gullible as I was in the past, a lot of them lost interest in being around me. I can say I was never the most popular person before this anyway, and I am glad to have the few but real friends that stood by me.
As far as my education, I never really felt that people had given up on that. I also never forgot that an education was essential for my larger goals in life. My high school accommodated the classes that needed to be, to help me. I still believe that an education is vital to the life of ease I hope to one day live.
I do not believe the accident has changed me too much. It surely has changed the way people look at me. There are still some people who treat me differently than they did before my accident. It may be lack of belief that I will ever be the same, or maybe it is my self-confidence that simply scares them away.
Paul walked to podium to receive his high school diploma taking steps once deemed impossible by doctors.
Paul is a dynamic speaker who helps national preventive organizations to promote helmet awareness and bicycle safety.
TBI Years Later
Through years and years of occupational, speech, and physical therapies, Paul regained enough movement, balance, and coordination to no longer need his wheelchair. Then he no longer needed his walker. And eventually, he was able to take steps that doctors had deemed impossible, walking independently to the podium to receive his high-school diploma. At the time of graduation Paul was also battling a new diagnosis–cancer, leukemia, CML. Paul, survived a bone marrow transplant and more years of struggle and uncertainty. Today Paul is in remission.
Paul has become a dynamic speaker for national preventive organizations bringing awareness to childhood cancer and traumatic brain injury. Paul also gives talks to promote helmet awareness and bicycle safety.
Paul has fought to gain parts of his life back and has maintained and lost jobs, encountered girl friends and lived independently in his own apartment while attending a special higher education program in the big city, learning the transit system to get to his classes and internships. Paul James Coskie is now doing the “normal” thing, living back at home with his parents and like every other kid in America looking for employment…
Q&A with Paul Coskie