By Joanie Morris
- For the Salisbury Post
HUNTERSVILLE — Nestled down a road that seems dedicated to farms — Black Farms Road is lined with farms and trees — is Hinds’ Feet Farm, a small therapeutic farm designed to help sufferers of traumatic brain injuries.
There, adults who have suffered brain injuries — due to both external trauma and acquired brain injuries due to internal, medical issues such as stroke, tumors or encephalitis — gather to spend their days in various life skills therapies. There they have an oasis, a haven.
There is where Donald Johnson spends much of his week.
From Faith, Donald suffered a traumatic brain injury in February 2008. A combination of life events, drugs and alcohol led him to try to kill himself by hanging.
“My life before my brain injury was very hectic,” said Donald, sitting on a porch at Hinds’ Feet Farm. “I had a very severe form of depression and I hadn’t been diagnosed yet. One thing led to another.”
At the time, Donald was going to school at Catawba College and working part time at Dominos Pizza. The South Rowan High School graduate has what is termed anoxia — the deprivation of oxygen to the brain causing traumatic brain injury.
“I had to learn to walk again,” said Donald. “I had to learn how to hold a fork and knife again. I knew how to write, but I had to learn the motor skills.”
Donald doesn’t want anyone to go through what he has gone through as a result of his depression and subsequent brain injury. He spent a month in the hospital, part of which was spent in a coma caused by the attempted suicide.
He’s decided to share his story to bring awareness of brain injuries, what many people call the silent epidemic.