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Brain injury causes financial burden, family seeks support from community

Lake Oswego Junior High student Bradley Nesvold went to his friend's house after school Jan. 23 just like he did every Thursday. His mom, Lowanna, was at home making cupcakes and expected to pick Bradley up around 6 p.m. That's why she found it odd when her 14 year old son texted her at 4:15 p.m. saying he wanted to be picked up.

"When I get there he's bleeding from the nose, the mouth and ears," Nesvold said. COURTEST PHOTO: LOWANNA NESVOLD - Bradley Nesvold, before his injury.

Bradley had been accidentally struck in the head with a golf club while playing with his friend.

She said that when Bradley got into her car he was bleeding and vomiting, and his speech was disoriented. "I rushed him to the emergency room because he wasn't following any commands and he was throwing up," Nesvold said.

When they arrived at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, CT scans revealed that Bradley needed immediate surgery.

"Part of his skull was crushed and that started a brain bleed," Nesvold said.

They were rushed in an ambulance to Randall's Children Hospital, where trauma surgeons were waiting for him.

Doctors were able to stop the brain bleed and insert a titanium plate and titanium mesh where his skull was shattered. He was out of surgery later that night and discharged a couple days later.

But Bradley still isn't out of the woods.

With Bradley's dad on hospice care for a chronic illness, his mom is the only parent who can work. Nesvold said they don't receive disability benefits and her husband is not on Medicaid for his hospice care. Any care for her husband comes from the health insurance provided by her job.

Even with health insurance, there are out-of-pocket medical expenses. Bradley's ambulance ride to Randall's and the surgery will mean more out-of-pocket expenses for the family.

To make matters worse, Nesvold said the company she works for has started laying people off.

Bradley has been out of school for two weeks and will need more time to recover and go to speech therapy appointments in Portland.

"If I don't get laid off that's still time off of work...it's just all crazy," Nesvold said.

Alixandria Barnum, who works at LOJ, started a fundraiser on the crowdfunding platform, gofundme, to help alleviate the financial burden of the situation.

Bradley is home now, but he has a long road of recovery ahead of him.

The brain injury occurred in the part of the brain that controls speech, memory and comprehension. The injury has resulted in a delay in some of his cognitive skills.

For example, Nesvold said if she were to tell Bradley a list of three things, he can only remember the most recent one.

Working on his speech and memory skills has been a challenge. When he tries for too long, Nesvold said, he gets tired and overwhelmed.

"It's so draining on him that he just starts throwing up," Nesvold said.

The doctors are hopeful Bradley will improve eventually but in the meantime, the family has to adjust to a new normal.

The trauma to his brain has caused a sensitivity to lights and sound, making him more susceptible to an existing seizure disorder.

"He can't have a lot of stimulation," Nesvold said. Even going to Costco with his mom was too overwhelming for him. "By the time we got home, I mean, he was sicker than a dog."

His mom said his feeling of overstimulation may take six months to a year to improve.

It's still unclear how long it will take and how much speech therapy will be needed.

'It's just groundhogs day every single day with him," she said.

Nesvold is thankful for the support that's already been shown by the community.

"The community that we're in and the school district is amazing," she said.

As of Monday, Feb. 17, 47 people have donated, raising $4,165 of the $10,000 goal.

You can donate to help the Nesvold family here


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