Editor's Note: 'Empowering Lives: Stories from Our Colorado' are stories about the challenges the staff at Colorado's renowned Craig Hospital help people overcome every day thanks to the generosity of people like you. The six-week series will culminate in a 'Day of Donation' on Monday, April 8. To learn more about how you can help, visit the 'Empowering Lives: Day of Donation' page to learn more.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- In the summer of 2015, Sampson Briggs had just graduated from high school and was getting ready to attend Colorado State University in the fall. But all that changed on June 15, when he was doing roofing work as part of his summer construction job.
“They had me get on the roof to remove old roofing material and as I was removing that old roofing material, (when) some of it busted free. I took one step back from the edge and fell 30 feet to the concrete.”
Sampson doesn’t actually remember that day, or three weeks of his life after that. In addition to broken bones and a bruised body, he suffered a severe brain injury. After weeks in the ICU at Littleton Adventist Hospital, Briggs was transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood.
“His injury is remarkable, in the sense that he survived it,” said Dr. Alan Weintraub, director of the brain injury program at Craig Hospital.
Surviving a traumatic brain injury means learning to live a new life after it. That’s where Briggs’ journey with Craig Hospital began.
“It was more than learning to walk again; it was more than learning to talk again,” said Dr. Weintraub. “In order for him to define his new life he had to get back his loving relationships with people, he had to get his personality and emotional style back, he had to get back the things he loved and was interested in,” added Dr. Weintraub.
Briggs not only regained those aspects of his life, he also discovered a new passion for speaking and promoting workplace safety.
“My first question when I speak is: 'who has family, who has loved ones?' Because that’s how I try to go about it when I promote workplace safety, is think about your loved ones,” said Briggs.
Now in his third year at Colorado State University, Briggs says he’s found a new normal.
“I have grown to live a normal college life, what I now call normal,” he said.
Briggs is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He is studying marketing and hopes to work in a field involving workplace safety. He’s still very active, despite having to give up playing football. He says he wouldn’t have had any of this without the help of Craig Hospital.
“Craig hospital was so supportive of me and I love trying to keep up a relationship with the patients I met at Craig when I was a patient there, as well as having the opportunity to go talk to patients there now.”
Many of the programs at Craig Hospital are not covered by insurance. It’s generous people and organizations who make the programs possible. Denver7 & the Craig Foundation are teaming up for 'Empowering Lives: Day of Donation' on Monday, April 8. Click here to learn more about the programs offered at Craig and how you can donate right now.