Research Rehabilitation Connecting

Personal Perspective: “Never Take for Granted”

Debbie Grosser
Debbie Grosser

A 10-year survivor of a near-death accident and traumatic brain injury explains how these words have become more meaningful than any others

By Debbie Grosser

How many times in our lives have we thought or uttered the words, “I will never take anything for granted”?

As a 10-year survivor of a near-death accident and a traumatic brain injury, these words have become more meaningful to me than any others. In August 2011, I fell down a steep flight of stairs, fractured my skull and suffered severe damage to my brain. My condition was so perilous that the organ donation team was called before I even arrived at the hospital.

I survived thanks to God, my excellent neurosurgeon, and an amazing critical care nursing team. Although I have very little memory of the accident and the days that followed, I retained all my cognitive abilities. Since my fall, I have undergone 21 surgeries due to the severe injuries I sustained to my skull. Realizing I had an amazing story to tell, I wrote and published my memoir, Never Take for Granted.

Before my injury, I was a successful Wall Street analyst for 30 years. I traveled the world, was an avid triathlete, and even completed an Ironman in Lake Placid in 2005. My life was turned upside down in a split second. My journey over the past ten years has included every emotion under the sun—anger, guilt, depression, and finally, gratitude.

My recovery began at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ. I arrived there in a wheelchair, with no memory of what it felt like to walk. When I left seven months later, the physical therapists had me running again (with handheld assistance). They showed me that my body still remembered the mechanics of running!

After leaving Kessler Institute, I stayed with my brother and his wife before moving into a one-bedroom apartment in Garden City, NY. I lived there until December 2013 when I suffered a grand mal seizure. I was in and out of several long-term care facilities for the next few years. Since 2016, I have resided at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack, NY. It was not an easy transition to accept because I was so independent previously. However, God had other plans for me.

While at Gurwin, I formulated the idea for writing my memoir and interviewed almost every employee. I also created the Deborah F. Grosser Foundation to fund cutting-edge research into the causes and treatments for TBI. The COVID-19 pandemic afforded me the time to finally finish my book. When it was completed, I decided to direct all proceeds to my 501c3 foundation for TBI research as a way to give back.

It's been a long road and a very difficult journey, but I have truly learned to never take anything for granted.

If you would like more information about Debbie’s story and her memoir, please visit:
www.debbiegrosser.com