KCU Medical Student Proves Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury is Possible

Landon Sowell, KCU medical student

“I had to use a wheelchair, I had to learn everything again; it was such a strain just to put a puzzle together.”

The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes March as Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time that hits close to home for one KCU medical student. It’s also a time to raise awareness about the 2.4 million children and adults in the U.S. who sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, along with another 795,000 who suffer an acquired brain injury from non-traumatic causes.

For Landon Sowell, a first-year medical student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU), it’s a time to reflect on his own medical miracle and his dream of offering hope to someone else.

When he was 7 years old, Sowell suffered a kick to the head while feeding horses near Fulton, Kentucky. The horse’s hoof struck him just behind his right ear. The first grader was rushed to a local emergency room and immediately transferred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, with a fractured skull, brain swelling and bleeding in his brain.

“He looked like he had been in a boxing match with all the swelling,” said his mother DeAnna Reams. “He was unresponsive and did not look like my sweet, vibrant little boy.”

Sowell survived the injury, but the medical team prepared his family for the possibility that he might never be that vibrant little boy they once knew; that he might have suffered permanent physical injury and learning disabilities. “The doctors weren’t sure if I would make it to 20 years old and be fully functional,” said Sowell.

In the beginning, he couldn’t stand, walk or coordinate his arms and hands well enough to catch a ball. He…

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