Sandy's Story

Brain Injury

Bicyclist handles head injury and raises bar on recovery

With his helmet on, Sandy Laufle and five of his friends were enjoying a 60-mile bike ride in the country.Sandy2017-12 All were experienced riders and in great shape.

“It was a perfect day. We were going about 21 mph and drafting off each other. But in the 58th mile, I got too close to the bike in front of me. I nudged his wheel and down I went, knocking myself unconscious.”

Sandy was rushed to a local hospital. He was treated for a brain injury, broken right shoulder and ribs, eye and hearing issues, and a cut on the top of his head. He has no memory of the early days after his accident. Two weeks later, he was transferred to DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).

“I was still pretty out of it when I got to RIM. But I remember doing physical and occupational therapy for my shoulder, ribs, hearing, eye movement and my ability to walk and talk properly. Therapists also worked on my cognitive ability.”

When Sandy left RIM, his memory was better and he had improved overall mobility. He continued with outpatient therapy at RIM's Sterling Heights Center, working on his shoulder, muscle strength and cognitive skills.

“Someone with a brain injury can be really challenging to deal with. All of my team members were extremely patient and caring. They worked really hard with me and offered a lot of therapies. I only hope I can live up to their standard and function normally again.”

Sandy says therapy was really beneficial in dealing with his brain injury. He’s now using other parts of his brain to compensate for the damaged area. He now rides on a three-wheel cycle, with a helmet, and has returned to his job as a Macomb College police officer.