UH-Clear Lake program helps people with traumatic brain injuries when insurance doesn’t cover rehabilitation

CLEAR LAKE, Texas – A program at the University of Houston Clear Lake is helping patients with traumatic brain injuries continue rehabilitation even after the insurance company stops paying.

“I suffered a traumatic brain injury or TBI in 2005 when I was 22 years old,” said Sean Carter, speaking through a machine.

Sean was a passenger in a drunk driving accident where he suffered horrific injuries. The physical damage healed, but the effects of his TBI have him still in need of physical therapy. However, past a certain point, the insurance stops paying for therapy.

That’s part of the reason why the University of Houston Clear Lake created the Health and Human Performance Institute (HHPI).

Executive director Bill Amonette said he started HHPI with people like Sean in mind.

”When I met him, I was in a wheelchair,” Sean said “I now use a walker.”

At HHPI, there’s no deadline, no insurance, or copays. Just progress.

That means as much to Sean’s mother as it does to him.

”It’s nice too because there’s other community members that are my age and there’s like a little senior group,” Sean’s mom Jenny said. “I get to say hello and meet people, you know we’re pretty isolated.”

Since the beginning, Jenny has been there for her son, but being a caregiver of adult children comes with unique concerns.

“The only thing you can really wish for the future is that you live one second longer. Which isn’t realistic,” she said. “It’s not realistic at all. But, you wonder what’s gonna happen after you’re gone.”

Sean works hard, eight hours a week, he said. Which he fits in on top of his full-time job of speaking to crowds on the dangers of drinking and driving.

After so many difficulties and progress made, he still hopes that one day there’s more independence to be gained.

Sean is no doubt a miracle.

So, is he thankful to be part of this program? ”Hell yea!” Sean said jokingly.