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Survivor Stories

Brain Injury Alliance New Mexico is home to a community of people thriving with brain injury and their families and caretakers. If you have been affected by brain injury in any capacity and would like to share your story, please email us at


Melanie, Brain Injury Survivor:

Melanie has worked for the University of New Mexico for 15 years. She received her undergraduate degrees in Communications and Spanish. As she was working at UNM, she went on summer vacation with her husband. One day, August 1st, 2009, she had a traumatic brain injury. She fell off of a mountain bike in Wisconsin, and was indeed wearing a helmet. No one knows what she hit, but she was found sprawled out in the middle of the trail. She was rushed to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI, and was placed in the ICU for 3 days. After that, she underwent physical, speech, and occupational therapy at St. Luke’s. She was there for about a month, as she was not well enough to fly home. Once home, she continued the three therapies with Lovelace Rehabilitation Center, and went back to work at UNM for 20 hours/week. She did this for a few months, before she went back full time.

She had been admitted to a master’s degree program while she was in the hospital, slated to begin that fall. Before her brain injury, she had registered for classes, then dropped them, just because she was lazy. After this, she had the mind-set that wouldn’t give up, with or without a brain injury. She did defer her admission to the following semester. She ended up beginning her degree in the spring of 2010 and ended up completing her M.S. degree in 2013. In April of 2016, she googled Brain Injury Associations in NM, as she’d never felt comfortable telling people ‘I have a brain injury…’ but, then, finally did.

“I realized that I have had amazing care and wanted to finally let people know about my injury and experiences, and try to pay it forward…or at least be an example for people who live with brain injury,” says Melanie. That brings us to her google search, and finding the Brain Injury Alliance New Mexico. She saw the One-Club Tournament posted on the website, held on April 2nd of 2016, and decided to show up. She does play golf, but wasn’t registered and her intent was not to play, but just to go see what it was all about. There, she met Delfy, Mark and Glenn (members of the BIANM) and told them her story.