Mark Smolen TBI Road to Recovery

Please help Mark Smolen on his road to recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) suffered in a near-fatal car crash on March 6th, 2016. It is a long road back, but Mark is loved, and he is strong.       

Here is his story.    

Sunday, March 6th, 2016 was a bright and sunny Spring day in Connecticut. Mark left his new condominium in Shelton and hopped in his car to head over to his Sister Liz’s house a few miles up the road in Bethany for a regular workout session he'd have with his brother-in-law, Mike.     

Little did Mark know, but soon his life would change forever. He was driving up Route 8 when a tire came off a trailer being towed in the opposite direction, came across the median and smashed through his windshield striking Mark in the face, causing Mark's car to careen off the highway and end up on its roof in the woods.

Mark was cut from his car, intubated onsite and rushed to Waterbury Hospital in critical condition. Quickly, the Doctors realized the extent of Mark's injuries and he was airlifted by helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital ICU.  Mark had suffered severe head trauma, a broken jaw, broken orbital and had significant brain swelling and was in a coma.  The medical staff’s early prognosis for recovery was not good and heart-wrenching questions regarding his quality of life were presented to the family by the doctors. Mark’s condition was so grave that some local media had mistakenly pronounced Mark deceased in early news reports of the accident!       

Mark proved the fighter that he is and against all odds, he survived and is recovering! He spent over a month in the ICU at Yale. He eventually was able to breath on his own and then awoke from his coma and was able to raise his thumb or squeeze a hand to respond. The last two years have been filled with small steps and significant efforts, and pain, as Mark has fought to recover.     

Once Mark was stable enough to leave Yale’s ICU he was transferred to JFK Rehabilitation Hospital in New Jersey. He spent months there fighting every day to learn to talk and to learn to regain control of basic motor skills. He then was moved to NeuroRestorative in Weymouth, MA and had daily rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehab Hospital.    

After additional months of intensive rehab, Mark finally recovered to the point where he could move back home to his condominium in Shelton, Connecticut. He has been undergoing continuous rehabilitation at the likes of Gaylord, Griffin, Albin Center and Prolete Rehab and has had to return to Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Boston for multiple procedures.      

Today, just over two years from his accident, Mark has made tremendous gains, but he still has a way to go. Mark’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has left him with left side weakness throughout his body. This has affected his speech, ability to swallow, use of his left arm and his ability to walk. Mark is currently in a wheelchair and must have 24/7 live-in care to assist with his recovery. His condominium has had to be retrofitted with a stair-lift and other modification to make it safe and accessible for Mark.      

Mark’s rehab is intensive and expensive. He is having to learn things we all take for granted all over again. He has started to walk with assistance and has regained some movement in his left arm and hand.    

His sisters have been his angels. They have relentlessly pursued all avenues and show amazing compassion and commitment to help with Mark’s recovery every single day. They’ve pursued getting Mark access to the best Doctors, Therapists and Treatments available. They have navigated his care, insurance, expenses and legal concerns with amazing care and dedication.       

Mark is determined to walk again and to get back to independent living and get on with his life.   

We are asking for your support to help pay for the rehab and medical services needed to help get Mark his independence back. Mark, like many of us had what we think of as adequate insurance but with the astronomical medical bills for his care and the length of his recovery, it has proved to be far less than what Mark needs to live on and to fund his recovery.   We need help in paying for his rehabilitation, medical procedures and needed in-home modifications to help further his recovery.   Please do whatever you can to help Mark on his road to recovery. He is loved and he is strong.      


A little bit about Mark for those who don't know him:   

Mark is a 1989 graduate of Seymour High School. He attended Culinary School and Southern Connecticut State University. He has worked for many years in Call Center Vendor Management. In this capacity, he has traveled extensively throughout the US and as far away as the Philippines. Up until his accident he was in this role for the Affinion Group.    Mark is an avid fisherman, an amazing chef and loves to work on cars and other do-it-yourself crafts. He is single and in addition to his two sisters, he has his mom and dad, two brothers-in-law, 3 nieces and a nephew. And some great friends as well.
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Steve Muir 
Raised $150 from 2 donations
Milford, CT
Liz Doherty 
Dan Beyer 
Team member
Raised $275 from 2 donations
Sean Krings 
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