Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

November 25, 2013

The Knockout Game, really?

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 9:30 pm

Recently on the news I saw a story covering a new “game” by mostly teenagers called The Knockout Game.  In it, unsuspecting pedestrians are targeted just walking along the street.  As the group of teens approaches and just passes the pedestrian, one of them cold-cocks the poor target, dropping them with a blind-sided sucker punch.


This is happening in at least seven states.  The video clips are truly disturbing, watching people just drop to the ground, already out on their feet.  It’s as if someone just threw a mannequin to the ground.  They don’t even break their falls.  It’s really upsetting to watch.

It’s flat-out dangerous.

This “game” can put people in the hospital and in the morgue.  I saw clips of a man who had sustained a devastating traumatic brain injury as a result of getting blindsided and knocked out.  His life is changed forever.

My friend Bobby and I were lamenting a time when a sucker punch wasn’t celebrated by your friends.  Wasn’t the design of some twisted game.  If you threw a sucker punch, you were a punk.  A coward.

Still are.

You have to wonder how that message got lost along the way….

A new twist to the story happened when the knockout punch misfired and the intended victim calmly shot the punch-throwing coward twice before watching him carted off and arrested.   The kid who threw the punch cited “boredom” as one of the reasons for participating in the Knockout Game. 

Boredom, really?

When my friends and I were bored teenagers, we walked around malls for hours.  We talked on the phone, back when kids actually talked on phones.  We drove around for hours listening to music. 

We didn’t decide to put people in the hospital or, worse, the morgue.

When I was a bored teenager, I ended up pulling weeds, washing windows or running the vacuum cleaner.  Trust me, I wasn’t bored very often.

We have to teach these kids somehow that it is NOT their right to injure or damage our brains.  It is not their right to take our memories, our abilities, our careers, our financial footing, our relationships, our futures. 

OUR LIVES!!!!!!!

Please be careful out there, everyone.  This is only going to continue until more and more intended targets sadly have to defend themselves with deadly force of their own.   Kids are going to continue to put people in hospitals and morgues until they end up there themselves or until they grow enough to realize how stupid they are being.

Be aware.  Spread the word.  Talk to kids.  Don’t walk alone.  Remember that not everyone keeps the same definition of stupid or holds life in as high a regard.

Keep yourselves safe!!!!



November 10, 2013

Thrilled, Delighted, Proud, Tickled, Exhausted

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 9:13 pm

This is a very special moment for me and I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you. 

I once thought that suffering a traumatic brain injury would mean the end of everything good in my world when I saw the pieces of my life scattered all around me.  In the seventeen years since, I have experienced, instead, a journey so remarkable that I am grateful for this injury every day.

Many of you have been with me all the way since my book was published in 1999.  From then and through my speeches, the magazine articles and now here in blog land, I have enjoyed your company, your comments, your stories and your support.

Now I’m taking a next step and I’m so excited to share it with you!!!!

It has always bothered me that so many of us can no longer read like we did.  I was there myself at the beginning and I know how frustrating that is.  I wanted to be able to connect in a way that my book and my blogs cannot.  I imagined, in a way, us just sitting down for a cup of coffee and…talking.

I’ve been working on a series of easily-downloadable audio presentations narrowly designed for specific problems that survivors, caregivers and professionals face every day.  Each runs about an hour and, together with my producer, we’ve worked to keep the cost affordable so that it can reach as many people as possible.

I’ve pasted the link below and I hope you’ll drop by there for a visit.  As always, I appreciate your visits and conversations over the years here on this blog and I hope they continue.   I love you guys and I’m cheering for you!





A Lifestyle Of Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:48 am

I was in a restaurant last night and they were advertising a yummy-looking “Thanksgiving Day Sandwich” with turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing on it.  The picture made it look mouth-watering, as they do.  I wanted that sandwich more at that moment than I want world peace.

I ordered the soup and salad bar.

It wasn’t Thanksgiving yet, I had said.  We’re going to have turkey in a few weeks, I reasoned….

The salad bar was abysmal and the soup was worse.  Amidst noodles that had been sitting in the pot for so long that they had actually disintegrated, I learned a lesson I should already know:

Don’t ever pass up an opportunity for Thanksgiving.

We are a funny bunch, really.  We wait for some Hallmark nod on the calendar to tell us when to gift and whom to gift, when to be thankful for vets and grandparents and, yes, even Jesus.  We look at the calendar at the beginning of the month, the week, to see how many more days before we need to be thankful.

Maybe it’s time to just live Thanksgiving, instead of visiting it just once a year.  Maybe it’s time to eat turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and stuffing in July and April and February.  Maybe it’s OK to skip that horrible salad bar with no garbanzo beans two weeks from Turkey Day and enjoy the sandwich in the picture.

Life is short. 

We have to be thankful for those gifts in our lives every day.  To live thankful moments.  To point them out throughout the day as we realize and remind just how gifted and spoiled we are.

To be able to read this.  Right here.  To be able to have a computer to bring up the entire world at our fingertips.  To turn on the heat when there’s a chill in the house.  To jump in the car and run up to the store for coffee at any hour of any day.

We allow that precious, clean water to run and run and run while we get ready for hot showers and tooth brushing.  We leave the lights on.  As a society we throw out billions of pounds of food each year.

There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t Thanksgiving right there, all around us.

Too many times we get tangled up, allowing ourselves to see only the latest, greatest downturn or curveball in our lives.  We lament the $ 400 dollar car repair bill and the hair-do that keeps ending up as a hair DON’T every morning.  We get caught up in people who are this or that.  The lawn company that did a lousy job of trimming.  The letter carrier who changed his route and now delivers three hours later.

We need Thanksgiving more than one day a year. 

Let’s commit to Thanksgiving.  Let’s eat turkey in August while we remind ourselves the countless blessings, wonders, abilities and options we have in our lives.  Let’s choose the big picture.  Let’s make appreciation the default option for every one of our thought choices.  Let’s totally freak out the greeting card store when we ask for Christmas cards in May, Mothers and Fathers Day cards in September, “thank a vet” cards in March.

A zebra doesn’t need a calendar to tell him he’s got stripes on. 

Please, pass the stuffing.




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