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Kern father and son face TBI together with help from the Centre for Neuro Skills

The Centre for Neuro Skills is a specialized medical facility that helps people with traumatic brain injury to recover their functionality and reclaim their independence.
merlyn and bryson frank
Posted at 8:50 PM, Jun 19, 2023

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A Kern County father and son spent their Father's Day holding each other a little closer. The two of them suffered nearly identical injuries almost ten years apart, and both successfully recovered with the care of the Centre for Neuro Skills in Bakersfield.

Merlyn Frank spent 9 months at CNS after suffering a traumatic brain injury when he fell 20 feet off a rooftop while fixing an air conditioning unit. When Frank's son Bryson Frank suffered the same kind of injury 9 years later, Merlyn knew the Centre for Neuro Skills was where his son needed to be.

"You know, once we got him in there, I knew we are going down the right path, and to see where he's come full circle is just… you know, we're blessed," said Merlyn Frank.

Merlyn says that when he got the call that his son was hurt, he didn't know what he would see when he walked into the hospital room.

Bryson had been riding his motorcycle on the freeway when he fell, got stuck under the wheel, and hit his head against a guardrail. Bryson spent three days in a coma before he was able to learn about the extent of his injuries.

"I sustained a traumatic brain injury, I fractured 2 vertebrae, and I don't remember what it's called, but basically separated a bunch of vertebraes, don't remember which ones, and then I lacerated my lung," recounted Bryson.

Merlyn's injuries were quite similar. Aside from the brain injury, Merlyn fractured his skull, broke his back, lost his sense of taste and smell, and also had to make some changes to his everyday life.

"At the time of the injury, I didn't wear glasses. They found out I had done enough head damage that it injured my eyesight," said Merlyn.

Merlyn also dealt with anger issues, and Bryson temporarily lost his sense of recognition. They said it was the mental therapy provided by the Centre for Neuro Skills that got them back on track.

CNS President David Harrington was personally a member of Merlyn's treatment team and says the treatment plan at the center revolves around a community setting.

Harrington says that practicing daily tasks such as getting groceries or cooking meals is ideal for people recovering from TBI.

"Everything from fine motor coordination, gross motor coordination, the processing speed, all of these skills integrate to make sure that we are able to perform our activities of daily living, whether it's very basic such as cooking a meal, or complex like returning to work," said Harrington.

As Merlyn and Bryson share this experience, the father and son also share a common interest in motorcycles, and Merlyn says he's most grateful to be out on the road again.

"Motorcycling's been a part of my life since I was a kid, since I was 4 years old, so to lose that part of me would be really tough, I think, so that's been the biggest blessing out of all of it," said Merlyn.

Both Merlyn and Bryson say this experience has brought them a lot closer, and although they've been told to stay away from motorcycles, they say they can't wait to go riding together in the future.