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Every Brain Injury is Different

Every Brain Injury is Different

From Everyday Lives: Four Real-Life Accounts of Stroke

A brain injury can affect anyone at any time, regardless of their age, gender, activity level, or lifestyle.

Centre for Neuro Skills

Nicole was seven months pregnant

A MOTHER:  Nicole Paredes

Age (at the time): 31
Career: Stay-at-home mom


Lifestyle: Managed household chores, active churchgoer, no prior warning signs
In June 2017, Nicole felt chest pain, a headache, and was in and out of consciousness. Her speech began to slur, and that’s all she could remember. Nicole was seven months into her pregnancy with her third child at the time. Nicole suffered a stroke due to pre-eclampsia and had to deliver her daughter prematurely.


Life Today: Nicole has regained her speech abilities, learned how to walk again, and manages all household tasks on her own. She homeschools all three of her children.

Centre for Neuro Skills

Craig was riding ATVs

A FRIEND: Craig Northcutt

Age (at the time): 36
Career: Tribal Employee Advocate, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma


Lifestyle: Busy work life, father, active in community
In September 2012, Craig was riding ATVs while deer hunting with his best friend, James. When Craig suddenly flipped out of his ATV and hit his head, James called 911 and started performing CPR. Craig suffered both a traumatic brain injury and an ischemic stroke from the accident.


Life Today: Craig relearned how to walk, drive, and returned to work full-time. He recently celebrated his 30-year work anniversary. He is an active member of his community, enjoys spending time with his daughter, and continues to spread awareness about brain injury. 

Centre for Neuro Skills

Leroy was lifting weights at the gym.


Age (at the time): 61
Career: Business owner and author


Lifestyle: Very active work life, lifted weights and worked out daily, played basketball
Leroy McClure Jr. led an active lifestyle, running his own non-profit business and spending time with his eight grandchildren. But on July 30, 2021, Leroy was lifting weights at the gym when his head began to hurt, and he started slurring his words.  Leroy suffered hemorrhagic stroke due to a ruptured brain aneurysm.


Life Today: Leroy has returned to his community of colleagues, family, and friends. He walks over 15,000 steps a day, works out daily again, and has written a book about his stroke journey.

Centre for Neuro Skills

Dr. Petersen was at home with his family.

A DOCTOR: Dr. Michael Petersen

Age (at the time): 54
Career: Chief Medical Officer, CVS Aetna


Lifestyle: Worked out 3x a week, active with family, busy work life
In June 2023, Dr. Petersen had spent a typical day at home with his family. Hours later, he was found in his bedroom. Dr. Petersen suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, causing headaches, right-sided weakness, loss of walking ability and slurred speech.


Life Today: After 8 months of intensive neurorehabilitation, Dr. Petersen has relearned how to walk independently, strengthened his vision, and successfully returned to work full-time. He is excited to spend time with his children again and resume his work duties.