The story of James Caudill did not begin on October 15th, 2012. However his life and the lives of his friends and family were changed by what happened that night.
It all began after James watched an episode of “The Walking Dead” on AMC with friends. James wasn’t quite ready for bed and began looking for something to occupy his time. It was a wet, cold mountain night in Athens, WV, not the kind of evening you spend outside. However James was never one to let the weather hamper his plans. He grabbed his longboard and headed out to pass some time. Longboarding was one of the more recent hobbies James had undertaken, a form of skateboarding on longer, wider skateboards that allow the user to gain more speed. James made his way to campus and was longboarding in the early morning hours of Monday October 15th.Unfortunately, James had decided to go longboarding without a helmet.
Very little is known about what happened next. What we do know is that James was found on campus, on a very large hill, with a severe injury to his head. James was immediately taken to the local hospital where he was stabilized and prepared for transport. Due to the weather he was unable to be transported via helicopter. He was taken via ambulance to the nearest level 1 trauma center in Roanoke, Va. There he received life-saving surgery to relieve the mounting pressure in his skull. The next weeks were touch and go as he remained in a coma and on life support. After nearly a month in ICU James was released to an acute care hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. There he progressed from a comatose stage to being minimally conscious and responding to voices and stimulation. After 3 months and numerous complications and surgeries, James was moved to a transitional acute rehab unit at WakeMed in Raleigh, NC. He remains there now as he and his Drs. work towards the goal of rehabilitation.
It has been nothing less than tragic for James’ family and friends to see him in his current condition. James lived an active lifestyle, enjoying the outdoors through mountain biking, skiing, white water rafting and just being in the mountains. He is now confined to his bed and unable to communicate while his brain recovers from this devastating injury. The outpouring of support from James’ friends, acquaintances, and the communities in Wilkes and West Virginia has been nothing less than amazing. The family has truly been comforted by the prayers lifted up on their behalf.
It was out of this support that the James F. Caudill Traumatic Brain Injury Foundation was born. It became quickly evident in the days following his injury that many people wanted to come alongside James and his family to support them. The foundation provides an avenue for those wishing to support James and other victims of traumatic brain injuries. It also allows the family to pass along a simple, yet powerful message: Wear a helmet. It is possible that this tragic result could have been avoided if James had simply worn a helmet. That’s why our motto at the C Foundation is simple, “Be headstrong; Wear a helmet.” We thank you for your support.
The team at the C Foundation: