The Masks


In partnership with

Name: Elizabeth H

City: Cambridge

Brain Injury: Cysts on the brain

Explanation of Mask: Area of the cysts removal that changed who I am on the outside and inside too. The blue and green represent the sadness hidden behind the busted pieces, the glitter represents that mess that explodes when trying to explain things, the starburst is representing the area that feels like it exploded from my skill, the glitter is for the tears cried inside daily for not being the same.

Name: Hope B

City: Cleveland

Brain Injury: Concussion-mild TBI, post-concussion syndrome

Explanation of Mask: The red side of my mask stands for the anger and frustration that comes with a head injury.  The darker red spots represent the frustration that I feel because my whole world has changed and I am trying to find a “new normal” which is hard.  The yellow side of the mask represents the hope that I have; I believe that I will eventually be able to find my “new normal”.  The tears represent the sadness I have that comes from a brain injury.  It also represents the grief that I have due to having to start over.  I have had to relearn a lot of stuff and it is sad when you realize you won’t be 100% again.  The black pipe cleaners represent the dizziness that comes with a brain injury.  I am constantly dizzy which makes life a fun adventure.  The string represents the nausea that I have every day.  And lastly the explanation marks represent the constant headaches I deal with every day.  Being dizzy, nauseous, with constant headaches is not fun; but I have had to learn to cope with it.

Name: Linda A

City: Grove City

Brain Injury: Stage 3 Breast Cancer, metastasized to brain, tumor in right parietal lobe which effected left side. Had seizures, fluid buildup, and midline shift prior to tumor removal.

Explanation of Mask: Deal with cancer since 2011, I have been strong and fought hard. I had radiation treatment to the tumor, bit it didn’t kill it. So while on vacation…I started getting worse symptoms and came back home for surgery. Mask shows tumor, strength, and happiness on the right, and sadness and being afraid a on the left, looking for full recovery.

GREAT help and assistance in rehab with the team of very caring individual. Thank you!

Name: Donald L

City: Delaware

Brain Injury: Starting early in life, I’ve had at least twelve significant TBI’s. One, the worst, included two brain bleeds and two crushed vertebrae

Explanation of Mask: The twelve stars represent my twelve mild to moderate TBI’s. The tree is my emotion tree with ‘respect’ as its trunk. I grew up in a mentally abusive household (my father) and the TBI’s magnified that as depicted by the magnifying glass. The person hiding behind the tree me. The smile is me hiding my emotions behind humor. My goal now, as seen at the top is starting more groups like the one we have here, The Columbus Grandview TBI support group, to help more fellow TBI survivors and some day start more TBI support groups. The dots on my chin indicate the good friends I have made during and because of my recovery. The “beware” on my forehead warns people that my filters are gone after numerous frontal lobe injuries and you never know where my brain will go and what it will let out.

Name: Bob R. 

Brain Injury: Hit by a truck while riding a bicycle in rural Marion County, OH 

Explanation of Mask: This is what it’s like to have hemianopsia

Name: Laura H
Brain Injury:  Fell 20’ head first onto a concrete floor – massive hematoma, 3 internal hemorrhages, coma for 4 days


  1. Over left eye, where I struck the floor. Massive bleeding.
  2. Fractured EMC^2 for loss of math and reason skills
  3. Career lost
  4. Tears, betrayal, rejection, betrayal by my own doctors, family abandonment, loneliness
  5. Refusing to give up. Determined to find answer- survived.
  6. Self discovery- discovering who I was now. Rebuilding my life.
  7. Hope- finding resources- happiness
  8. Giving back to facility support groups.

Name: O.R C.

Brain Injury: I had a bad fall and I broke my skull

Explanation: On the top I put a representation of the first fall and I chose the color black because it made me feel sad and depressed. The white lines are my skull fractures. The yellow sun represents a better time when I started to feel better even if still sad because I can’t be independent and ride a car (blue tears and blocked car) the black part underneath represents a setback that I am having with some recurrent falls.

Name: Jeff

Brain Injury: Spouse of one who has TBI

Explanation: Look normal on the outside but inside feel lonely, unable to help the healing go quicker, working not to respond when things don’t go right or what used to be normal is normal. Helpless and restrained while loved one experiences set backs or frustrations; trying to adjust while “normal” continues to change, not without hope. Bars over eyes signify helplessness while outside of the mask is black reflecting feeling alone

Name: Lisa P

Brain Injury: Double brain aneurysm

Explanation: Having a double brain injury was actually an experience that made me appreciate how precious life meant to me. God blessed me with his best Angels my daughter and my son who were there with me from the beginning, during, and after and now.  The whole experience was like thunder and lightning penetrating through my head. A feeling I shall never forget. My faith in God got me through to continue to live my life the way he meant me to live. My scar where I had 30 staples across my head and my children jokingly calling my Franko mom made me smile. My children’s way of loving me and taking care of me was a reason to fight for my life. Love my Ti and Ty.

Name: Ralph 

Brain Injury: Nine bones broken, fell off a tree, suffered a TBI

Explanation: The mask is camouflage because people do not see me. Brain injury keeps me hidden; people do not want to know me. Having a brain injury is very isolating. The silver dots above the eyes are the scars I got from wearing halo traction because of broken neck. The red lips is because of the number one thing I miss is kissing.

Name: Steve

Brain Injury: Was hit by a drunk driver while on a bike

Explanation: It happened at about 11am on a Sunday morning. I woke up on Wednesday afternoon. It took a long time to get back on my feet, back to work and back on my bike but I did. I have yet to ride by the spot where the incident happened. Maybe one day  maybe not.

Name: Zac

Brain Injury: Giant Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Explanation: My mask has two sides as I feel I do. The side with the sun is the happy side that I show in which I am happy to have survived the other side of my is hurt by my wife leaving me and telling me that she didn’t love me after I had a stroke even though she married after my aneurysm hence the scar. The mouth is half smiling half sad.

Name: Diana P.

Brain Injury: Suffered a severe TBI as a result og a car accident – hitting a Honda Civic and semi-truck as a result of black ice

Explanation: The mask represents me almost 14 years after my car accident. I am doing well, have made new friends in my new home in Columbus, and have found my new life. I fell I am here for a reason and take every opportunity I can to make a difference in the lives of others. I am a member of Brain Injury Advisors committee at The Ohio State University.

Name: Daniel D. 

Brain Injury:  Bad car accident, I am lucky to be alive

Completed with assistance of therapist.

Explanation: The red scar represents the actual scar on my forehead. The word “pain” next to it represents the pain I’ve been through, as well as m family, friends and girlfriend. The Cross represents faith, I’m lucky to have wonderful support of friends and family. The road to recovery runs through the mask with a heart to represent all the love and support I have. Hard work represents all the work I’ve put in at the hospital and how much hard work I know I have ahead of me. My girlfriend, Taylor, helped me with this mask. She has been wonderful and supportive throughout this accident.

Name: Laurie T. 

Brain Injury:  Had a fall and hit my head
Explanation: I decided to give my mask short hair to represent my new short hair. I have pink hair and peace earrings because we all need a little peace and love in our lives, a chance to be our selves. I guess at first I felt like I was falling apart after the accident but now I feel like I’m coming back together again so we gave her some glitter to jazz her up. Got to love her.  She’s awesome.

Name:  Jeff D. 

Brain Injury: Car accident, unrestrained passenger in back seat

Completed with assistance from therapist.


Blue- Jeff’s favorite color

Cross- for God, Jeff described this as his source of healing

Brown- painting of a dog, paw to signify Jeff’s dog Titus whom he misses

Pipe cleaners- a deer, Jeff hunts for leisure

Green/Pink- Grass and flowers; Jeff enjoys and misses working in the garden.