Thomas Joseph Stanton II was born and raised in Kingwood, Texas. He is 18 years old and attended Foster Elementary, Riverwood Middle School and Kingwood Park High School. He has played almost every club sport in Kingwood but focused his high school career on football and swimming. He played football at KPHS for 2 years and was looking forward to playing on varsity his junior year before his accident. He began swimming year-round when he was only 4 years old and competed for Blue Tide Aquatics for 11 years and the past year for Eagle Swimming Association. He helped lead KPHS to their 2nd consecutive state swimming championships in 2010,, was the 2010 4A 100 Freestyle State Champion and is an All-American in numerous other events. Joseph also has 3 sisters, Madeleine (23), Audrea (20), and Gabrielle (14), the two oldest graduated from KHS and live out of state.
On June 3rd, 2010 the first day of summer break, Joseph suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after falling off his skateboard just a few short blocks from his home in Kingwood. He simply fell from his 6’1” stature to the ground and sustained a massive head injury because he was not wearing a helmet. He was taken by ambulance to Memorial Herman Hospital where the doctors said there was simply nothing they could do for him as his entire brain was swollen. At 4 AM on June 4th his priest came to the hospital, prayed over and anointed him and within the hour a new doctor appeared at his bedside saying he was going to operate. It just so happened that the doctor’s name was Dr. Shepard and the family believes that the LORD brought His Good Shepherd to save Joseph’s life.
Dr. Shepard removed a very large portion of Joseph’s skull and placed him on a ventilator but Joseph was very unstable for about 3 weeks spiking very high intracranial pressures causing more brain damage. One intracranial pressure reached 85 causing a huge brain bleed and Joseph almost lost his battle. He endured horrific “brain storms” technically called autonomic dysreflexia which is somewhat similar to seizures but much, much more severe. Eventually, the pressures in Joseph’s brain began to stabilize and he started to wean from the ventilator. After 6 weeks in the Neuro-Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Herman Memorial Hospital, Joseph was transferred to a long term acute care facility that specializes in neuro-rehab in The Woodlands, Nexus Specialty Hospital, where he stayed for just over four months. Joseph was then transported to The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) in the Houston Medical Center area on December 13. TIRR is known to be a place where God likes to show off…..to show man Who is sovereign……a place where the Great Physician is known to show His handiwork. Joseph participated in the Minimally Responsive Program which only guarantees a 14 day stay unless he showed progression. Joseph remained at TIRR for eight weeks and was only released home to recuperate from baclofen pump surgery. Last year Joseph had tendon lengthening surgery to allow for him to walk again and his trach surgery to remove scar tissue, and went back to TIRR for his second round of rehabilitation.
Joseph is now back at home, where he is under the constant care of his ‘mama”, Joseph’s dad Rob, and Joseph’s caregiver, Hernan, who has been a God-send to the Stanton family since his arrival in August. Throughout the summer Joseph’s buds helped with physical and occupational therapy, and the first time Joseph went in the pool since his accident. Since then “Therapy Angels” have come to the “Stanton House of Rehab” to love and tug on Joseph! Each day friends, old and new, arrive to help with physical and occupational therapy to give Joseph the exercise he needs to help him on his road to recovery. Many come for the work out as this time is not for the faint hearted! Joseph has made HUGE strides recently, doing push-ups, responding to speech therapy like never before, and many more things. To be kept up to date on Joseph’s progress be sure to check out his Caringbridge page at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/thomasjosephstanton.
The doctors have advised his family that it will be a long time before they’re able to accurately assess the potential outcome and even longer for Joseph to realize full rehabilitation. Joseph and his family have been covered in prayer by friends, family, and complete strangers from all over the world and are very grateful for the love and support they have received. They continue to pray for Joseph’s complete and total healing and eagerly wait for the day he is able to return home. Contributions to the Thomas Joseph Stanton II Trust will go toward insuring long-term medical care for Joseph if needed, funding helmet safety education and legislative efforts, and traumatic brain injury research.
Thomas Joseph Stanton II Trust
P.O. Box 5736, Kingwood, TX 77345