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Healthy You

Moving Beyond Traumatic Brain Injury

Friday, August 26, 2022 9:48 AM

Isaac Maman with bike

By Brian Justice

For Isaac Maman, the simple pleasure of cycling is something he will never again take for granted. He credits the care he received from a team of NorthShore neurology experts who surrounded him following a devastating bike accident in March 2021. The 47-year-old father of three from Evanston suffered catastrophic injuries after colliding with a large golf cart while on vacation in Florida.

“Everything went black,” Maman recalled. “The next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital with excruciating pain. I was bruised from head to toe with more than 40 stitches in my face, and I couldn’t see out of my right eye.”

Total Team Effort
Once stable, Maman returned home to tackle his vision loss and relentless head and body pain. He put his trust in NorthShore Neurological Institute Neuro-Ophthalmologist John Pula, MD, and Neurologist Nicole Reams, MD, a head injury specialist. Dr. Pula quickly determined that Maman had a rare form of vision loss called post-traumatic optic neuropathy.

“The nerve connecting Isaac’s right eye to his brain was so severely damaged in the accident, that sadly his vision loss is irreversible,” explained Dr. Pula. “But Dr. Reams, myself and other members of our team were determined to help Isaac heal and adjust to a new normal.”

Turnaround Therapies
“It was clear Isaac suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury,” noted Dr. Reams, who leads the Concussion Clinic. “Beyond the pain and vision loss, he was having serious issues with his inner ear system, which affected his eye tracking and balance.”

Maman began an intensive four-month rehab program, including speech and vision therapists, to help “retrain” Maman’s brain to make one eye do the work of two. The effort has exceeded even Maman’s own expectations. No longer in pain, he is back to working, driving and, triumphantly, biking.

“Never did I think I would come back to this level—cognitively, mentally and physically,” said Maman. “It’s been quite a ride, and I’m so grateful to Dr. Pula, Dr. Reams and the incredible NorthShore team!”

“Isaac is a determined person,” added Dr. Reams. “He took his work ethic and positivity to the max and that’s played a huge role in his recovery.”