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