Clark Jacobs woke-up one morrining in January 2015 with a headache. He hd falllen from his bead the night before and was suffering from severe injury to the head (fracture to the skull) but wsn’t even aware of of the injury. But the 21-year-old will never forget his journey to recovery from the traumatic brain injury he suffered in that 7-foot fall to the floor.
An emergency brain surgery saved his life, but left him a helpless state
He would have to re-learn how to do everything, including how to walk, talk and eat.This was no small feat.
While fighting to regain his life, Jacobs had one major goal: Get back to school. This week, the mechanical engineering major went back to class.
“I walk with my own two feet, unassisted,” Jacobs said. “Boom.”
Aftter 20 long months, he is bak to school to his old fraternity House. He is using a twin bed on he long, not wanting to take chances on another fall.
“No way,” he said.
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It’s super-comfortable, so I’m not complaining at all,” Jacobs said. A full-size refrigerator and a panini maker for weekend sandwiches make it the perfect living quarters for two college friends. Ryan McDaniel, his former roommate did not hear n=him fall during the incident.
He remembers Jacobs telling him he had a headache. It was a Saturday, and Jacobs had his dad pick him up and take him back to the family’s Cobb County home. The next night, a WellStar Kennestone emergency room doctor was shocked by the diagnosis. A fractured skull. Scans also showed a brain bleed and symptoms of a stroke.
“If we don’t operate, he won’t make it,” the doctor told Jacobs’ parents. “If we do operate, he might not make it. We have to try to save Clark’s life.”
Jacobs survived and was later moved to the Shepherd Center for months of rehabilitation. His family and friends were terrified, anxious for Jacobs to recover, though doctors and therapists warned there was no way to predict it.
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“I was scared,” “It wasn’t clear at first what was going to happen.” – Ryan.
Learning ti eat, talk, walk etc again, Jacobs proved he was a fighter, and his parents and sister were his biggest cheerleaders.
Rail against th Danger (RAD)
Mariellen Jacobs used her son’s injury to spark a call for action. She started an awareness campaign called “Rail Against the Danger” or RAD, determined that no one else would have to endure a brain injury because of a lack of bed rails on loft and bunk beds.
She and her son have shared their story with the University System of Georgia, which now has a plan in place to offer rails for beds.
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“By spring, every college campus in Georgia has to have them,” Mariellen Jacobs said. “They’ve got to be available and they’ve got to be free.”
Clark Jacobs, parents and sister
Last week, Jacobs and his mom visited Georgia College to give a presentation to students on the importance of safety rails. Mariellen Jacobs is hopeful the campaign can get national attention so that no one else has to share her son’s ordeal.
Clark Jacobs wants his personal testimony to serve as a lesson. But for now, he’s focused on returning to college life. He’s taking two classes this semester, and Friday night, his fraternity is planning a party, along with several others, to celebrate the end of the first week.
“I’ll never again be ‘old’ Clark,” “I’ll be new-and-improved Clark.” -he said.