The Masks

North Dakota

In partnership with

Name: Jean H.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: 23 Feb 2005-hit by a semi-truck!

Explanation of Mask: The face designated what sometimes a TBI person feels.  The question mark designates the unsurety and the feel a person feels about what is the rest for him or her.  Life will turn out. 


Name: Brooke S.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: I was upset and driving on a country gravel road.  I wrecked my car and went through the windshield because I was not wearing a seatbelt.

Explanation of Mask: Daily it feels like my thoughts, feelings and knowledge are in a tornado when nothing seems to go “AS IT SHOULD.”


Name: Dustin M.

City: Emerado

Brain Injury: Motorcycle accident in 2002.  Hit a Chevy Tahoe broadside.  I was in a coma for 21 days.

Explanation of Mask: Balloons are to be happy alive. Eyebrows mean indifference in making decisions and difficult.  The hearts represent my 2 kids.


Name: Rodger W.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: TBI 8/6/1983, 11am near Cass Lake, MN.  Riding a kids motorbike going 10-15 m/h.

Explanation of Mask:  Short term memory is still very poor.  Frustrated and lonely.  Confused.


Name: Veronica D.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: Injury to the temporal lobe from a fall in 2004. Unconscious short time.  I had a personality change.  I was told I swore like a sailor and slept a lot, walked like a chicken and mixed up words. 

Explanation of Mask:  Is a process just like recovery from it—denial to healing to obstacles to obsessions—only needing to be respected as a person not as a label and not having other speak for you—takes time but I am a warrior. 


Name: Larry

City: Emerado

Brain Injury: Car Accident

Explanation of Mask:  I like KISS!!


Name: Marlene J.

City: Devils Lake

Brain Injury:  On October 2, 2007 I had a surgical procedure that sent 7 blood clots to my brain stem causing multiple strokes at once. 

Explanation of Mask:  The confusion of thought-thinking clearly, difficulty thinking.


Name: Michael S.

City: Rolette

Brain Injury:  Hit in the head with a hammer at age 6.

Explanation of Mask:  October 31st and 9pm clearing a half-moon.


Name: David G.

City: Devils Lake

Brain Injury:  Fell down a flight of steps.

Explanation of Mask:  Lightning bolt represents unseen scar tissue, stitches represent healing process, 2013 is when the injury occurs, purple represents a bruise that will never fade, stars represent the journey not yet completed. 


Name: Kim S.

City: Devils Lake

Brain Injury:  I sustained my brain injury in a car accident in January of 1991.  I was in a coma for 2 weeks and in the hospital for 3 months.

Explanation of Mask:  My brain injury is like this mask.  It may be beautiful on the outside but it masks the pain and the uncertainty on the inside. 


Name: Mitchell S.

City: Sheyenne

Brain Injury: In 2013 I was working up on the roof and as I was trying to put on my harness, I took a step back and fell through the roof.  I fell 16ft and now have a TBI.

Explanation of Mask:


Name: Hannah A.

City: Leeds

Brain Injury: Nearly fatal car accident in November of 2007.

Explanation of Mask:  I have always been interested in pageants. When I was in the hospital I became great friends with Miss Minnesota America 2007. Miss MN helped me overcome my stage fright.  Since then I competed in 2 pageants.  From then on, pageants have become another chance to make brain injury awareness known. 


Name: Christopher

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury: Benign rare tumor , Type: Multicell, front-right temporal lobe.

Explanation of Mask:  Throughout the process of discovery, extraction, and recovery the three most important things to cling to during my incident was remembering my priorities. The prayer and family support was incredible and my faith deepened in greater spirituality and gratitude for my life.

Furthermore, I couldn’t help but constantly think of how blessed I was to have been born in this country and have access to modern medicine and world-class neurologists at John’s Hopkins Hospital.

Name: Daryl 

City: South Heart

Brain Injury: ATV Accident 

Explanation of Mask:  Thoughts of fun.  Cruise on ships, farm life, mother nature’s beauty, and eat good BEEF food.  

Name: Maxine

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury: Cyber Knife Surgery, St. Joseph Hospital – St. Paul

Explanation of Mask:  Had surgery on February 14th, 2011.  Three days of intense radiation.  The tumor was to disintegrate and pass through my body.  The radiation was too strong for my body, my brain swelled for 3 months later causing seizures and paralysis.  The last five years have been dedication and a mystery each day to live.  Very hard to read and write and remember what I read.  Eyes do not focus well.  Everything is gone – you have to learn everything again.  I was a teacher – can’t read, write, spell, coordination is bad.

Name: Sandy

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury: Had it 48 years ago in 1969 when I was 3

Explanation of Mask:  Feelings in different colors.

Name: Bill

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury: Left frontal lobe damage due to multiple gunshot woulds with a .25 pistol in the fall of 1985

Explanation of Mask:  Depiction of the gunshot wound to the left frontal lobe of the brain.  Destroying many cognitive functions of my brain.  Leaving me with paralysis and loss of short term memory.

Name: Linda

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury:  In 2008 I found out I had one brain aneurysm. The doctors said they would watch them. 4 months later I was going to have surgery on my back. Then they (doctors) said we have to send me to Minnesota to have the aneurysm clipped. The doctors did all kinds of tests. That’s when they told me I had 3 aneurysms. So I had surgery Jan. 30th, 2008.

Explanation of Mask:  My mask has many scars.  Not only me but many.  My life now sometimes it feels like knots in my head.  Don’t know if I am coming or going, but time does matter.  The brain surgery saved my life.  The aneurysms are clipped.  I am doing good, life is good.

Name: Alexander

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury:   I was a passenger in a rollover car accident and was thrown out of the vehicle. I landed head first on the road. I received a TBI (traumatic brain injury) fractured pelvis, collapsed lung, bruised heart and lungs, fractures to my face and skull and almost lost my left eye.

Explanation of Mask:  Life changed completely after my accident.  I was a teenager and had to learn how to do everything all over again when I was recovering.  I was 18 and would have been a senior in High School but missed my last year and graduating with my class.  When I returned to school I was treated terrible by the kids at school.  I lost most of my friends because they really don’t understand me.  I have physical and cognitive difficulties.  People called me a retard and a moron and they look at me funny all the time.  I wish they would treat me better.  I am still me inside.   I feel broken sometimes.

Name: Randee

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury: Encephalitis, 90% blind in the left eye

Explanation of Mask:  Due to an allergic reaction to a vaccination shot that prevents chicken pox at 10 months old, I got encephalitis.  I have a learning disability, short term memory loss, frustration cuz people don’t understand me.  As I got older, I lost vision in my left eye due to the encephalitis.  I’m 90% blind in my left eye and sensitive to sun, light & wind.

Name: John

City: Center

Brain Injury: The TBI event occured 3 1/2 years ago when my skull shattered after being struck from cycle by horse

Explanation of Mask:  Accurate depiction of TBI.  Actual copy of X Ray showing subdural hematoma.  Received X Ray from surgeon about three years ago.

Name: Jeremy

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury.  A lady decided to make a left in front of me.  I ended up flying 26 feet in the air and landed on my head.

Explanation of Mask:  This event drastically changed my life.  My mask shows how I feel slimed with 1/3 of my brain on my left side gone.  Makes speech and other things in my life difficult. 

Name: Arlene Joy

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury: Arachnoid Cyst with subsequent cognitive impairment

New Normal – faces don’t have names

No filter on noise in a noisy world

Explanation of Mask:  You wake up from major brain surgery – the slate is wiped clean – you know your name – you recognize faces of family. But your head hurts for months and no pain pill can touch it. You plunged into a world of no return. You NEED REST!!!! The past trickles in with large gaps to fill. You are directed to apply for disability. REST!!! New Rules – One auto – One dwelling – and limit on income to $2000.00 assets. At your lowest point in life you have to spend down to poverty – what you have worked to save for retirement. REST!! Dictionary – resource material are your constant companion – 5th grade math – geography – spelling list – your best friend is you phone – with the memory you lack – names – numbers – photos – short term activities – But mostly you need to rest the damaged brain.

Name: :  Carlos G

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury. I was driving a motorcycle car, made a left-hand turn and crashed into a vehicle, which lead to Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask:  Before my accident I was active in swimming, running, playing basketball. These are some of the things I can’t do or do well anymore. In 1984 I was involved in a motorcycle car accident. I was in a coma for 2 months. After waking up things were very faint for me. I had to learn things all over from speech, having to learn how to walk all over. Before my accident I had 20/20 vision. After accident I had double vision. My eyes were like a cartoon character where my eyes spinned around. My memory is bad. I can’t remember things like I could before my accident. Its frustrating I can’t remember day to day.

My worlds like black & white cuz everything before was bright before my accident. Now its like a black hole.

Name: :  Macayla V.

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury: Closed, Front Right Temporal Lobe

Explanation of Mask:  Duality of surviving a brain injury half awake your primary personality becomes the shiniest happiest thing and the other is left in a sea of question leaving you confused and angry.

Name: :  Jamie R.

City: Minot

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury due to a double explosion 6” from my head.

Explanation of Mask:  Most would never know that I have been labeled as “disabled”. I walk, talk, write, etc…but absolutely not as well as before. Before the explosion, I drove all of my University instructors crazy because I already know what I was to be learning. I was only jumping through the hoops.

Those who have known me for some time see, with no doubt, that I am now “impaired”. I cannot live without being the real “Jamie”. The real “JAMIE” died in the accident, so this “Mask” event has been apropos for me now. I often recall the words to the song, “Tears of a Clown”, and apply it to myself as I live, constantly, behind a mask so that most will not guess….Hence, also the tears on the mask.

The disabled person (icon of the “Handicap chair & “person”) and then the icon of the (supposedly “OK” person) is indicative of how others treat me (through misconception of a “disabled” one’s count-enous). There is not  nearly enough information out here in the real world for others to understand – I feel as if I’m supposed to wear an advertisement (like on a human with a board in front and back – held up with suspenders) in order for others to show compassion. One should have compassion for all, however, that is not our world.

That, on top of such an egregious lack of information (even among “professionals”) of what “brain injury” can entail. Something needs to be done for both the injured, however, more so for the uninjured.  

Name: :  Jason N.

City: Minot

Brain Injury: Don’t get stoned and then drive.

Explanation of Mask:  Looks like me.

Name: :  Tom D.

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury: Multiple Sclerosis TBI beginning with car crash in Washington City (1973)

Explanation of Mask:  The brain fog started after my diagnosis in 2003 and continued for several years.

The blue color is from duty in the U.S. Navy (1969-1975)

Name: :  Laurel H.

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury: Third ventricular colloid cyst and obstructive hydrocephalus

Explanation of Mask: Before my surgery, I was like a car that ran out of oil.  I was not getting the fluid to drain from my brain to my spine, etc.  I had constant neck and back pain.

Now the pain is gone!

I still have more work to do, as my concentration is often short term, cloudy and foggy.

I feel like I have a pail filled with individual words or phrases, but can’t seem to find the correct one.

If I get interrupted when I start to ask a question or make a statement, I lose my train of thought.

I wish I could remember who I talked to yesterday, remember someone’s name, or where I met them before.


Name: : Kaylen M.

City: Halliday

Brain Injury: Multiple accidents resulting in concussion and head injury – then 2 motor vehicle accidents back to back – the last one being hit by a semi truck = Brain Injury Trauma and frontal lobe affected.

Explanation of Mask: I felt broken. My head felt like mush. Foggy and balance issues.

Sad, Fearful, Anxiety, Memory loss, Struggles with remembering how to do things, Fatigued…SO Tired.


Trouble dealing with any type of stress.

Therapy – more therapy – hardwork

Support Group…

Hope, Help, Happiness.

Name: Shannon B.

City: South Heart

Brain Injury: TBI from a horse accident in 2010

Explanation of Mask:  I feel that everyone’s brain is their hard drive and when your hard drive blows up everything is now very complicated. My hard drive blew up and I had to re-wire my brain so I could function again. I prayed for God to give me back brains and hair and he answered by making me a walking miracle.

Name: Delisa M.

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury: Diffuse Axonal Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask:  My mask represents my everyday struggle with my brain injury involving depression, Manic, and personality disorders.

Name: Della

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Motorcycle Accident

Explanation of Mask:  I made my mask for it to be different. I like the color blue.

Name: Kivan R.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Brain Aneurysm

Explanation of Mask: My mask shows how the brain goes from clear to blurry because of an injury. Because of my injury, some memories and abilities are now blurry.

Name: Rick K.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Auto accident, massive head injury. Had to learn how to walk and talk all over again, as well as everything else.

Explanation of Mask: Young man, hairline a little sparse. Mustache to match the hair, same color. Red lips to show a nice smile. Eyebrows and eyelashes.

Name: Jim

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Pituitary Gland Tumor

Explanation of Mask: In the first grade, the back of my head was pounded on by 3 or 4 third graders. This caused a brain tumor around my pituitary gland. Causing me to go blind in my left eye and 10% tunnel vision in my other eye. Without my pituitary gland, it caused my hands and feet to stay very small. I am only 5’6” so I’m not that large. I am still very humorous and happy…and in a good mood!

Name: Lorn T.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: It happened when I was 18 years old. I had 3 strokes.

Explanation of Mask: The mask is me in 3 months, it’ll be summer.

Name: Anthony J.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Yes. I just woke up and it was there.

Explanation of Mask: Something to do.

Name: Olivia G.    

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Closed Head Injury August 3rd, 1985. I was involved in a car accident where I was backing up on a one way and was struck from behind.

Explanation of Mask: I’m just a simple person who is struggling with memory, coordination, and some behavior problems which I am working on.

Name: Wanda S.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Was run over by someone who was going too fast. It was a blue car with a red interior.

Explanation of Mask: I was run over by a pick-up truck. I have a horrible scar where they put me back together and bruise on my forehead.

Name: JR

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Flew out of the windshield of the car. I was going fast in my red GTO with white interior. I was 17 and now I am 58 years old. I built the car myself, the engine was from my brother’s car.

Explanation of Mask: I used bright colors because I am bright. I have a star because I am a star!

Name: Jeff M.       

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Motor Vehicle Accident

Explanation of Mask: My favorite neon green color with a black eye from my injury.

Name: Adam L.       

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: I was in a car accident.

Explanation of Mask: Painting this mask was a huge accomplishment for me.

(Adam is non-verbal and doesn’t write. Staff wrote this.)



Name: Amy B.       

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: TBI, Illness

Explanation of Mask: I am like a flower ready to bloom. Even though I am head injured I can still be able to be like a normal person.


Name: Mathew C.   

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: Divides my brain. Makes it hard to do things I used to do.


Name: Mitchell V.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Car Accident

Explanation of Mask: I drew an odins hammer and family comes first.


Name: Susan R.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Aneurysm in 1999

Explanation of Mask: Like the color Blue and hearts are like teardrops for the lost years I have.


Name: Scott J.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: Car Accident

Explanation of Mask: I love purple and it makes me happy. Look to the feature for a positive attitude


Name:  Trish

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury:  Hit my head-ouch

Explanation of Mask: The tree (my brain) was once full of leaves (ideas). Then I hit my head and part of my tree died. The buds are my brain coming back. One day my tree will be full of leaves again. The tear is the hidden pain. But when I read John 16:33 I have hope.



Name:  Nathan S.

City: New England 

Brain Injury:  

Frontal Lobe  

Explanation of Mask:   

First of all, I was cutting my hair and trimming my beard one night, staring at a pile of hair that accumulated on a newspaper, wondering to myself, “What in the world am I going to use for my beard on my mask?!?  The rest is self-explanatory! 

Then I used a 3D Black Hole-like design centered where my frontal lobe is, to represent the dark/dismal downward spiral my frontal lobe had to struggle through. 

Then I put headphones on to represent the incredibly positive effect that music had with my brain healing. I put a record player on one and the album cover of the *Album* I relied on MOST for positive vibe-age, on the other side. 

Then I put a re-set button in one eye, because that’s how I’ve always described my TBI, like having the re-set button but in my brain.  Then I put a bunch of disconnected wires, in the other eye to represent how with time, I had to make sure all of my wire were reconnected properly. 

My intension was to make my mask Dark and Trippy because that was EASILY the darkest and trippiest thing I’ve ever been thorough. EVER. 

*Album* Dr. Dog’s: B-Room album……♡ that album

Name:  Bonnie H.

City:  Finley 

Brain Injury:  

29 yrs. old, car accident.  Short-term memory, cognitive, unconscious, in a coma over one month.  Frontal lobe injury.  Severe trauma. 

Explanation of Mask: 

I am feeling blessed.  I always have and I always will.  I have kind of a mixture of feelings.  A lot of thankfulness (white & yellow) of how I survived through it all.  Of course, feelings of hopelessness (blue color) in myself for not going out and really trying to figure things out.  I always think I can do better for myself.  All in all I’m guilty (purple & orange) of procrastinating (brown).  I think I should do it, but don’t take actions.  Referring to age-old issues regarding my sister being in control  of my finances.  Later, after she had died in a car accident, I learned she had embezzled (black & red) a large amount of money from me.  It’s all in the past.  I have hard time digesting and forgetting.  But, I will try hard to move on! 

Name:  Myrna U.

City:  West Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

Assault – Bleeding – Aneurysm – Brain surgery 

Explanation of Mask: 

My 2 faces 

Sad – My TBI, PTSD, nightmares, sadness, pain, scar, tears, sharp shoots, assault. 

Happy – Pretend, smile, cope, family, friends, healing.

Name:  Eli B

City:  Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

My mother fell on the ice and hurt herself. 

Explanation of Mask: 

The black parts represent being in the dark and the stars are confusion and not knowing what happened or how serious it was. 

The purple is uncertainty, the red is fire for fear.  Scared that it was not going to be okay.   

The green is for relief and happiness.

Name:  Taylor Z.

City:  Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

I’ve sustained five severe concussions within the two years.  I struggle with the new person I am today, and everyday life struggles that come with the injuries.  I’m trying to find myself in a different person. I am very thankful for the little, but yet oh so big improvements I’ve made. 

Explanation of Mask: 

The fade from black to gray represents the dark journey with little light I’ve encountered.  It also represents the weight the darkness has on the little light.  The puzzle pieces represent being robbed of your identity in life but every day you get up and try to be half of what you were, and never getting there.  The stitched lips represent me holding it all in and not sharing with others my brain injury.  The tears fading to black represent the pain, loneliness, sadness, and cleansing of my soul.  The black tears are a symbol that I will always carry this load.  Lastly, the glitter represents the light at the end of the tunnel.  The quote represents the difficulty and battle a brain injury survivor goes through each and every day.

Name:  Tom T.

City: Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

Concussion from a fall.  Found a tumor, tumor had been growing for a while.  Tumor removed in 8-10 hr. surgery.  Stress on the brain.  Carotid artery torn during surgery.  Surgeries to fix a pseudoaneurysm then had 2 strokes, during 2 of 4 surgeries. 

Explanation of Mask: 

Calm and peaceful.

Name:  Nancy D.

City: Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of a fall on concrete.  Surgical bun holes with excessive bleeding which required a permanent metal plate on the right side of my head. 

Explanation of Mask: 

Red: Brain injury is scrambled mind, thoughts, purpose, future. 

Gray/white tones reflect loss and depression.   

The mouth is covered to reflect difficulties with speech, thought and processing.   

The colorful stripes and bright blue border project HOPE and LOVE. 

Name:  Tracy

City:  Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

Severe TBI after falling on ice. 

Explanation of Mask: 


Brain injury to me is a story of loss, of sadness, and of overwhelming negative emotion.  Underneath the broken glass of the mask is nothingness; behind my other eye is my old life, represented by a home far away in the distance – remembered but out of reach.  Word, swirling and confused, are stuck inside me except for foreign words, which seem to make sense.  My head is a hurricane of emotion, swirling storm, like in drops of glittering rain.  The angels may be watching over me but they don’t seem to be paying attention.

Name:  Angela F.

City:  Moorhead 

Brain Injury:  

7-24-1993 my life changed by a drunk driver.  But I am strong and will continue to live a HAPPY FULL LIFE. 

Explanation of Mask: 

I want people to know what can happened when you drink and drive.

Name:  Cheryl M.

City:  Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

Had 3 head injuries as child from falls.  I have had numerous brain injuries, first one as adult 2-23-1983; and then none until about 2008.  I ran into my garage door in 2010 and was seeing stars then 2012 ran back of combine and and part injured me by hitting in head; then 2013 MVA. 

Explanation of Mask: 

My addiction to alcohol I thought was my problem, and then I was run over by motorcycle.  Medical doctors told me I was crazy so I was depressed, drank, and then found recovery of alcohol.  But still had fog and crazy feelings, then had the accidents in 2012 and 2013 and meeting Nan gave me a new outlook on recovery.  Glasses from Dr. Edwards, talking about how I feel I realized that I have had a TBI for 33 years and now see hope.

Name:  Connie B.

City:  Wheatland 

Brain Injury:  

Aneurysm broke and became a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage.  Happened in 2014.  Side effect was a stroke. 

Explanation of Mask: 

I Wish….. 

I chose pink because I have always liked that color.  It shows my happiness. 

Death is hard to process: My sister died while I was in the hospital with my initial brain injury.  I missed her funeral.  So many things I wish….weren’t gone. 

I lost the art of cooking!  I loved cooking – I can’t cook now. 

Lots of scars: I feel the scars.  I’m self-conscious about them’ but I refuse to cover them up.  Pissed I lost my way of life. 

I kept my love for my babies even though I suffered memory loss.  I did not forget my kids or my grandkids.  I did forget, for a while, my husband.

Name:  Deanna G.

City: Dickinson 

Brain Injury:  

In a vehicle car accident.  Told I was never going to walk again.  In a wheelchair for 6 years.  Had to learn how to walk, write, and do math again, and read.  But here I am!  

Explanation of Mask:   

This from the Heart 

My injury left me things that will never go away.  I have learned how to deal, but with great pain.  Every day is a struggle.   I can’t remember things on a daily basis.  Even what happened yesterday?   

I have a hard time socializing, and often, just want to be in a calm state of mind without any confusion.  Things come at me too quick and I shutdown.  If two people are talking at one time I shutdown, because I can’t take it in. 

I isolate because that is safe for me.  I feel alone and worthless.  Often I just want to be alone.  I use things to help me numb the pain, which creates other problems.  It’s better to be a lone and in the background.  Than to deal with the frustration and confusion that I can’t deal with.  

I hate asking people to help me.  It makes me feel worthless.  I would rather live in a silent world and put may mask on than to go through the hurt. 

Please people realize we are people too and we need help.  It’s a hurt no one can see.  A SILENT DISEASE.  I would love to know happiness and love again.  Not hide and hurt.  We look through eyes that are EMPTY. 

God Bless!   


Name:  Michelle

City: West Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

First brain injury: A large AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation) that ruptured.  Second brain injury: An automobile accident reinjuring the first brain injury. 

Explanation of Mask: 

I survived the AVM rupture that should have killed me instantly when I was just 13 years old, and it is a miracle that I am here today living, breathing, walking, speaking – and with a 4 year college degree.  It is only because of the grace of God that I survived what I went through and recovered in record time.  I still remember the feeling I had,…the strong personal drive to move forward, and past all the obstacles that were in my way even though it was thought to be impossible.   

Fast forward to 15 years later.  I am happily married and with a successful career, and my husband and I are talking about starting a family.  While I am waiting at a red light a collision happens. I made the difficult decision to stop working and focus on my recovery which ended up being a great decision.  Even though I am wired to go, go, go and push myself harder, I have learned that the more I rest and the less I do, the better I feel which results in less symptoms over all.   

Blue and Purple are my favorite colors.  The white line down the middle of my mask symbolizes my concussion and how it separates me from a lot of the things that I love.  I decided to blend the blue and purple into the white line to represent hope and healing.  I will be whole again.  You just wait and see.  Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.    

Name:  Jacob

City: Grand Forks 

Brain Injury:  

An injury at birth 

Explanation of Mask: 

I am from MN and I love the Vikings, Twins, sports, and country music.  I play guitar and sing well.  I would like people to understand me and I wish I was not hearing impaired at times.  I like spending time with my family and friends.

Name:  Bill C.

City: Bismarck 

Brain Injury:  

Left frontal lobe damage due to multiple gunshot wounds with a .25 pistol in the fall of 1985 

Explanation of Mask: 

Depiction of the gunshot wound to the left frontal lobe of the brain. Destroying many cognitive functions of my brain. Leaving me with paralysis and loss of short term memory.  

Name:  Kyle

City: Grand Forks 

Brain Injury:  

Hit by a train while work mosquito control and driving an all-train vehicle. 

Explanation of Mask: 

My mask explains what life was like before the accident and how I felt, and on the left it expresses how I have felt after the accident.  Sometimes people see me different and I would like to be understood and viewed as the same as I was before the accident.

Name:  Asa O.

City: Watford City 

Brain Injury:  

Bleed on right side as a result of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He is now blind and paralyzed on his left side.  His speech is affected also. 

Explanation of Mask: 

Incognito.  He says he is hiding within himself.  He is there.  You just can’t see him.

Name:  Jeremiah M.


Brain Injury: 

2008 – Farming.  I was in a 4-wheel drive tractor pulling a beet truck out of mud and the clevis pin sheared off causing the clevis and chain to recoil and come through tractor window shattering my skull! 

2013 – Then passenger in a pickup rollover hitting head on dash. 

Explanation of Mask:   

Favorite colors.  Trust in the Lord.  Miracles are real.  Allow medicine to help. 

Name:  Craig B.

City:  Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

Damaged frontal lobe, fractured neck. 

Explanation of Mask: 

The boxes represent computers, thinking of the brain.  The crack represents damage to the brain.  The three words above the crack describe how I was able to get through the ordeal.

Name: Brendan B.

City: Davenport 

Brain Injury: 

Fell of a 2nd story balcony doing a hand stand. 

Explanation of Mask:   

The half-and-half is for the closed head injury.  


The pink lips was for the fact that I was near death and the star is because I was and always will be a rock-star. 


LUCKY (the word) because I am LUCKY to be alive and I was LUCKY to get a kiss from the girl who gave me mouth to mouth. 


I chose POSITIVE, because I’m more positive in life now. 

I chose IMPATIENT because life cannot come quick enough, so I am impatient.

Name:  Sarah

City:  West Fargo 

Brain Injury:  

December 1, 1998 – 14 years old 

I was dropped on my head onto concrete.  Deviated septum, lost a tooth, vertebrae pushing on spinal cord.  Short-term memory loss, slurred speech, trouble sequencing.  Subsequent head and brain injuries caused my life to change significantly. 

Explanation of Mask: 

Darkness Transitioning to Peace 

Cloudy – thoughts/difficulty concentrating. 

Heavy depression – rocks (lessening). 

Tight wire – anxiety, tension, world closing in. 

Sharp pain spikes – causing migraines. 


Lips sealed for years – Opening up recently helps recovery. 

Life changes to aid in recovery – Gold, bright, shiny.  Future is optimistic. 

Still trying….now thriving. 

Healing happens in pieces/with time/with hope. 

DETERMINED to enjoy the life I now have…..LET GO!

Name:  JR

City: Mandan 

Brain Injury:  

Flew out of the windshield of the car. I was going fast in my red GTO with white interior. I was 17 and now I am 58 years old. I built the car myself, the engine was from my brother’s car.

Explanation of Mask: 

I used bright colors because I am bright. I have a star because I am a star!


Name:  Mat

City: Mandan 

Brain Injury:  

Traumatic Brain Injury – long board accident. I do not remember how it happened.  

Explanation of Mask: 

My mask is an Ode to my Dad because he was a true American because he was a politician. I loved him very much and I miss him. I love my whole family. 





Name:  Scott M.

City: Minot 

Brain Injury:  

Fell down stairs. Cut 3 arteries in my brain.





Name:  Aaron C.

City: East Grand Forks 

Brain Injury:  

TBI-Car Accident 

Explanation of Mask: 

My life is full of inputs of information, so is the mask I designed with multiple colors.  Most of them are dramatic, which is what like to love to make me think.  The blue on the forehead is a cool color, which I need to be.  The pink color represents me as a happy person.  Green represents the flexibility or growth of my life since my injury.  Black is the formality I must have when dealing with questions from people about my actions and injury.  Orange represents the confidence I must have to interact with others who are ignorant of my situation.  The purple chin represents the spirituality that has helped me survive this like taking a “knock” on the chin.





Name:  Bonnie

City: Dickinson 

Brain Injury:  

TBI and toxic brain injury (toxicity) from chemicals at work 

Explanation of Mask: 

Shattered puzzle 

Pieces broken away from brain 

Every exposure of chemicals now oversensitive from exposures at work continue to take away more and cause more symptoms and loss. 


Name:  David F. Hubacher

City: Richardton 

Brain Injury:  

I have 2 TBI Surgerys Sept. 27, 2013 and March 1, 2014. September was a bad motorcycle wreck, 6 months later back at work I was assaulted from behind. 

Explanation of Mask: 

I am showing the 2 TBI Surgery’s 6 months apart. Upon the 2nd one I went to the Veteran TBI Ward. 46 Vets were there. All were trying to learn life’s skills that we lost from Surgery’s. 2 years later my left side of my brain was not coming back over. That was hard to take. I talk to God a lot for saveing my life. Some years it is stress on my life and having dark and quite times. I do my best going forward setting goals to stay being positive with my life. 

Name:  Gene B.

City: South Heart 

Brain Injury:  

Absence seizures 

Explanation of Mask: 

These words show my feeling.  How I feel about myself.  I feel forgetful, doubtful, clueless, helpless, smart, stressful, sad. 

Name:  Alysa.

City: Grand Forks  

Brain Injury:  


Explanation of Mask: 

Mask is about smile now n cry later. The struggles with mental illness. Keeping your head strong no matter what mental illness you have.  


Name: Brendan B

City: Davenport 

Brain Injury:  


Explanation of Mask: Pictures a shattered life. Pain in the form of blood around the eyes.

Name:  Tim V.

City: Grand Forks 

Brain Injury:  

Bicycle Accident-Multiple Skull fractures.  Fractured right orbital bone and major damage to temporal lobe.   

Explanation of Mask: 

Explains everything about my TBI.

Name: Alex S.

City: Bismarck, ND

Brain Injury:
June 22, 2012 I was a passenger in a vehicle that rolled over and I was thrown out. I landed on the pavement of the road. It was not clear for days if I would live or not. I suffered a TBI, collapsed lung, broken bones in my face, fractured hips, bruised heart and lungs. I had part of my skull removed to help with swelling that was put back in a month later. I was unconscious for 92 days. I was in Sanford Hospital in Bismarck; Kindred Hospital; Craig Hospital in Denver, CO; and QLI in Omaha, NE. I had therapy for Speech, OT, and PT for 3-4 years after my accident. I had to relearn how to do everything in life again, breath, eat, walk, and talk.

Explanation of Mask:
Since my accident life has not been easy, so many things have changed. I am grateful to be alive but I have so many difficult feelings and emotions. The mask tells some of my emotions and the colors represent how I feel about those feelings and emotions. I am very lonely and depressed because life seems to stand still for me while it moves on for friends. It is VERY difficult to find help and things for me to do with my injury. The resources available don’t seem to have the money or means to help people like me. I have voices in my head that tell me to harm myself, I don’t listen. I have physical disabilities with my TBI that also make life hard to deal with.

Name: Allen

Brain Injury:
Found outside unconscious lost 3 times in ambulance on way to hospital. There 1 month, nursing home 18 months, brain injury center 6 months, on own 2 years.

Name: Arlene

City: Bismarck

Brain injury:

Explanation of Mask:
There needs to be an update of rules for people on disability. Major brain surgery since 2008. Since that time all income has to be reduced, to one automobile, one home, burial fund, limit of $2,000 in any bank account. Social Security allows you to make an additional $900 if you have or are lucky enough to obtain a part time job. Ticket to work is offered but again your cash on hand is limited or has to be adjusted to the outdated rules of the game. How is a person with a brain injury understand all these rules after a lifetime of saving for your retirement and life on Social Security.

Name: Randee

City: Bismarck

Brain Injury:
Encephalitis, Histoplasmosis

Explanation of Mask:
Do to an allergic reaction to vaccination shot that prevents chicken pox at 10 months old, I got encephalitis. I have a learning disability, both short term and long term memory problems, easily get confused, frustration because people don’t understand me. Then at age 15, I got 90% blind in my left eye and sensitive to sun, bright light, and wind. The encephalitis is caused this, called histoplasmosis.

Name: Felix Y.

City: Breckenridge, MN

Brain Injury:
Schematic Stroke.

Explanation of Mask:
The blue represents the sky, there are stars in the sky.
The red around the eyes represent the sun coming up in the morning.
I’m wondering what’s next. I want to energize my brain.
I feel helpless and am struggling and wondering how to move forward.

Name: Jordan V.

City: Moorhead, MN

Brain Injury:
Bruised brain in multiple locations on collision.

Explanation of Mask:
The brain injury can be looked at as a hindrance, but it is just a life happening that I need to deal with and realize there is no way around this occurrence.
Live life to the fullest and smile while I can. Love life the most I can.

Name: Karla S.

City: Devils Lake

Brain Injury:
Hypertension stroke (brain bleed on left side)

Explanation of Mask:
The top of the mask shows the location of brain bleed.
Gray and blue are the colors for gloomy and sad.
I used my affected hand to make the hand print. The color of the print is for love from my family.
The bottom of the mask has orange, pink, and yellow – for courage, compassion, happiness, and energy – the ways I got through having the stroke.

Name: Kathleen F.

City: Moorhead, MN

Brain Injury:

Explanation of Mask:
My mask is like a puzzle because I got frustrated about different things that had to come together.
The light purple for how calm, bright.
Purple, pink, and orange are for how cool and calm I approached things.
Orange is for the brightness that helped me never give up.

Name: Nancy K.

City: Hope

Brain Injury:
Blood clot to the brain removed on February 6th.
Taken by ambulance to Fargo – 1 hour trip. Immediately taken into surgery following the shot given to me.

Explanation of Mask:
Yellow on top face – showing sun – Brightness.
Pink on bottom – showing health – Happiness.
A brain on top of forehead with words around the face – showing how
I feel.

Name: Tanya A.

City: Davenport

Brain Injury: 5/16/2004
Car accident at 1:40 AM on my way home from a trip with friends. Drunk driver crossed into my lane and I went into the ditch to avoid him, but was hit and that made my car roll. I ended up with a TBI, broken arm and wrist, and some internal injuries.

Explanation of Mask:
The colors explain my feelings, from the larger colors to the smaller colors.
+ Yellow: Bright, energy, happy, intellect.
+ Red: Love, energy and power, strength. – Anger
+ Blue: Love, loyalty.
+ Pink: Healthy, happy, compassion, sweet.
+ Green: Money and it’s my favorite color.

Name: Arlene M.

City: Fargo

Brain Injury:
Brain Bleed

Explanation of Mask:
What happened!
Brown string hanging from your nose. LUNCH!
Pale ashen nose/skin, so tired, dull, faceless personality.
Colorless eyes, memories lost, frustrated can’t see real life.
Red ears, noises extra loud – people yelling.
White lips – void of color.
Scars, staples putting me back together. Missing hair, missing ideas. Time disappeared.
Pompoms feel like scrambled thoughts as colors, different but there, coming back. Slowing coming back, bringing thanks for another day.

Name: Dolores T.

City: West Fargo

Brain Injury:
Brain injury when fell causing brain bleed on 12/21/18.

Explanation of Mask:
Red is for confusion.
Red patch by eye is injury.
Became the Christmas Miracle because of recovery.
Speech was confused and I guess I talked all the time.

Name: Don D.

City: Moorhead, MN

Brain Injury:
3 Strokes

Explanation of Mask:
I had 3 strokes, October-November 2018.
15 days in the hospital, rehab for 10 days, and outpatient for 1 month.
I am thankful and grateful to be alive.

Name: Linda F.

City: Fargo

Brain Injury:

Explanation of Mask:
How I felt when I had my stroke in the beginning – as the time goes by things get a little better.

Name: Tasha B. City: Baudette, MN

Brain Injury:
Half a dozen minor strokes correlated to Moyamoya disease and a hematoma to the right side of my head (temple)

Explanation of Mask:
The black spots are my 6 small strokes that I had.
The gray side is from my rough times I’ve had.
The lightning bolts are the “sensations” I had in my head as the neurons were regenerating.
The blue ribbon is for my Moyamoya (which is what I have.)
The question marks are because of my memory issues I had. I’ve had PTSD and depression since my surgeries (also representing the black lips.)
My red eyes are from how much sadness/anger I had because I didn’t want to go out in public for a long time.
The gold ribbon is for my sisters and I bond strong, since we went through the same thing at the same time. 25 is the age all of this started. Drofa is the doctor that saved my life.
I had a ride in a helicopter.
And last I drew a keyboard because I had to reteach my left hand how to type after my strokes.

Name: Terry H.

City: Moorhead, MN

Brain Injury:
Stroke, lying in bed!

Explanation of Mask:
I have never felt more positive and optimistic in my life!

Name: Carolyn B.

City: Moorhead, MN

Brain Injury:
Open skull double brain aneurism surgery survivor (was only given a 3% chance survival rate) Father, Son, Holy Ghost. I flat-lined 5 times and was almost paralyzed on my whole left side. I was 33 years old (the same age Christ Jesus died on the cross.)
My expected hospitalization was 3 to 7 months. I was miraculously in and out (passing the mental and physical therapy, even after being comatose over 2 weeks) in one month.
I had hair down to my elbows, walking dead for 2 weeks, not even knowing anything but a really bad headache. Woke up in hospital, bald with 48 staples down my skull. I had to pee, thought I was at home, fell, broke staples open.

Explanation of Mask:
I’m ADD – ADHD, verbose, tangential and I process? New? Information slower than normal. What’s normal? How do you spell it? “I.T.”

Name: Darrin A.

City: Fargo

Brain Injury:
Darrin had a cancerous brain tumor at age 14. Chemo-therapy and radiation therapy did not shrink the tumor.
The tumor was surgically removed – optic nerves were severed and nerve damage to legs, leaving Darrin blind and in a wheelchair.
Darrin finished high school and graduated with his class.

Explanation of Mask:
Eyes are “grayed” out because Darrin does see bright light and darkness.
There are cotton balls in the ears because Darrin’s hearing was effected by the radiation therapy.
The mask is blue because that is the color Darrin chose. He is also a pretty peaceful/tranquil guy.

Name: Dee D.

City: Jamestown

Brain Injury:
Right side

Name: Joyce B.

City: Moorhead, MN

Brain Injury:
Mini-stroke 2 days before Christmas. No physical symptoms now but still having trouble with memory.

Explanation of Mask:
Left side is feelings at the time of my stroke.
Right side is how I’m feeling now.

Name: Lori Lynn K.

City: Fargo

Brain Injury:
Closed head injury, February of 1988. Comma 8 weeks, 6 more weeks on Rehab, and home last week of May. Back to work January of 1989!!!

Explanation of Mask:
Painted mask orange for courage, friendliness, and confidence.
Watch is for being on-time for things and needing to be aware of that.
Calendar is for needing to plan ahead for things and NOT forget.
Thinks to do list is to remember what needs to be done.
Could NOT have done it without family, friends, smiles, being happy, and celebrating Life!!!

Name: Phyllis S.

City: Fargo

Brain Injury:
August 2, 2006
While servicing car – severe GI upset with vomiting and diarrhea.
4 days later had “event in my life” – “a wave and everything in my life changed.”

Name: Regina R.

City: Verndale, MN

Brain Injury:
Cerebellar Infarct (AICA) Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery
Horner’s Syndrome

Explanation of Mask:
The black brain and eye represents the frontal lobe damage.
Had to “re-learn” how to: eat, talk, swallow, walk, coordination, focus.
Blue represents the facial numbness/anesthesia.
The orange represents courage.
The 3 stars represents my 3 children which motivated me to overcome and not give up for them.
Lavender represents the love I have for my family.

Name: Rhonda W.

City: Mahnomen, MN

Brain Injury:
Brain infection. Streptococcus anginosus

Explanation of Mask:
Do not remember a lot!
Red door – hard one to open. But when it did – it was joy to be with all!
I remember no pain – at all!
Husband by my side at all times!
Thank God – always felt safe.
Friends and family brought me back to them!

Name: Nikki J.

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury:
Acquired brain injury.

Explanation of Mask:
Fear, of symptoms caused by my brain.

Name: Brittany P.

City: Dickinson

Brain Injury:
Domestic violence

Explanation of Mask:
I was physically abused for 5 1/2 years.

My head would be smashed into walls, cars, glass, and fists.

I’ve been starved and locked away for weeks.

I have nightmares and C-PTSD that affects me every day.

All from a man I married in 2005. I was 18 years old back then.

I am 33 now and still struggle.

Name: Veronica D.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury:
Though years ago, I still have after-effects from it. I was affected for life. But too stubborn to let it keep me down and out. I was lofted 4 feet in the air when I slipped on ice and slammed the back of my head on the concrete. Lots of rehab, job restrictions but all is good. I am alive!

Explanation of Mask:

Do not take today for granted you never know when it could change.

Name: Blake D.

City: Stanley

Brain Injury:
On May 26, 2019 I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. I was unbuckled and got many facial fractures and 2 brain bleeds.

Each day is a journey.

Explanation of Mask:
I tried to make Spiderman because he is my favorite superhero.

Watching Spiderman movies got me thru some touch times.

Name: “The Governor”

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury:

Bilateral Subdural Hematoma


Explanation of Mask:
A Warrior’s Prayer.

The eagle represents the “Creator”.

The buffalo skull represents who fed us and clothed our people.

The tears are under the left eyes that who will carry on our traditions.

The stripes are the color of the people.

Name: Zak B.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: Several Concussions

Explanation of Mask:

TBI Awareness


Knives-not always as “sharp” as I should be.

Helmet-must wear helmet if I continue “extreme” activities.

?-Memory loss

Fish-fishing is a nice “mental break.”

Name: Larry S.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: Knocked out. Rear ended in a car accident.



Name: Florence P. “Flossi”

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: Frontal lobe controls emotions and hand to eye to eye communications.

Explanation of Mask:

A Mask of Emotions.

Some days I have evil days and some days I have happy days.

With my brain injury it is hard to find a right mindful peace at times.

I can fake it to make it, at times this doesn’t apply so I do other things.

Thanks for Community Options for helping me out with various different projects or duties.

Name: Shelly L.

City: Mandan

Brain Injury: I was a pedestrian walking to my SUV. It started to rain. I was focused on getting to my vehicle. As I was walking past a parked pickup, the pick up backed up and hit me. I feel to the ground hitting my left side of my head and back. I was scared and didn’t have a clue as to what had happened to me.

Explanation of Mask:

The reason I chose words for my mask is that these are some of the feelings I have experienced since my TBI.

I am trying to heal and make the best of this trauma.

I feel like I was collateral damage to someone else’s warpath.

This is my responsibility to heal. This is my life now.

We all only get 1 life to live so stay focused, positive, and strong.

This life changing experience has changed my life.

Learn to help yourself heal.

Name: Sherry M.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: No injury-but work with clients of brain injuries.

Explanation of Mask:

Brain injuries are all different shades of emotions, no one mask the same, like no one brain injury is the same.

But all are beautiful!

Name: Rochelle K.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: None-I enjoy working with people who have gone through a brain injury.

Explanation of Mask:

My interpretation, as someone who can only observe, this mask visually represents how I see those enduring an ever changing world after a  brain injury.

Name: Zak’s Dad

City: Minot

Brain Injury: Veteran who has PTSD.

Name: Ben J.

City: Grand Forks

Brain Injury: I was over working and fell asleep.

Colors: Red-Case Yellow-Cat Green-John Deere