Yuki, on Feb 26, 2006, was a 20 year old sophomore at Grinnell College in Iowa. Yuki was a friendly young man, motivated and hard working during his four years of education away from his home country. Having earned a full scholarship, Yuki went to Lester B. Pearson College, United World College of the Pacific, a boarding school in Victoria, Canada for the last two years of high school. He studied there with students from eighty different countries, that made him interested in seeing more of the world and becoming part of reaching out for the people in need. He was admitted to Grinnell College with a Davis scholarship and he was looking forward to a semester abroad program in Costa Rica where he planned to go through internships and research on economic development and non-profit based work (human rights, child labor etc.).
While on a trip back from St. Louis with three other Grinnell students, Yuki was injured. He was a passenger in the back seat of a car driven by a friend.
Yuki sustained traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma for two weeks.
The day he was brought in to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, he underwent temporal lobectomy, hemorrhage clot evacuation and removal of bone flap.
A month later he was transferred to Younkers Rehabilitation Center in Des Moines and for the following month and a half went through PT, ST and OT. He was very confused at the time but by the end of the stay he was able to walk, talk and recognize his mother again. The aim of rehabilitation was for him to bear the 11 hour flight to bring him back to Japan.
After 2-1/2 month stay in rehab, Yuki returned to Japan. His family was not aware at the time how badly the rehab for TBI in Japan is lagging behind, and that the total number of those sustaining TBI wasn’t even assessed by the government. The few places that admitted TBI patients had OT, PT and ST training but were full and the wait was for at least 3 months.
This is when the family seriously started considering Yuki’s further treatment in the US. The family’s extensive search for the right place for Yuki had led them to Rusk Institute at NYU. They were also able to find and get in touch with one of the only two Japanese that had been treated at Rusk before, and it was with their help that Yuki had the chance to visit and be evaluated at NY in the fall of 2006.
It ended up being a worthwhile trip. He was admitted to the program in spring 2007. He is working very hard in the advanced cognitive rehabilitation and is making progress under the care of Dr. Yehuda Ben-Yishay and his staff members. Funds raised from T-Bird will help to offset some costs associated with his treatment that would not otherwise be provided.