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After traumatic brain injury, father re-learns how to walk in time for daughter's wedding

After suffering a traumatic brain injury, Brad Murwin re-learns how to walk in time to walk his daughter down the aisle. (WSYX)
After suffering a traumatic brain injury, Brad Murwin re-learns how to walk in time to walk his daughter down the aisle. (WSYX)
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It's a dream many girl dads have: After helping his daughter take all the small steps through life, he gets to join her on a walk down the aisle.

But for Obetz resident and 52-year-old Brad Murwin, that dream seemed nearly impossible last year.

"I went out to shovel the driveway and slipped and fell on the ice and hit my head pretty hard," he said. "I really didn't feel the effects of it for a couple of weeks but then I noticed my balance seemed a little bit off. I went to the ER, they did a scan on my brain and next thing you know I'm in surgery."

A freak accident in February 2021 caused Murwin to suffer a traumatic brain injury, leading to subdural hematoma. The pressure of the blood on his brain caused a stroke. All those things combined limited Murwin's ability to do day-to-day tasks including walking.

"The first time I met him he came in a wheelchair," OhioHealth Neurological Physical Therapist Jodi Renard said. "He was young. The very first thing you think about is how young he is and how quickly life can change. My first task was to get him up out of his chair and try walking."

Renard said hemorrhagic strokes and brain injuries tend to have more impairments, meaning patients can sometimes have a longer recovery time.

"He also had left-neglect which means he had to work much harder to be aware of his left side which makes recovery time longer as well," Renard said.

Time wasn't on Murwin's side. He had a date marked on his calendar that he couldn't miss.

"My daughter Katelyn was getting married," Murwin said. "After the accident, it really hit home that walking her down the aisle just might not happen."

In April, Murwin started going to therapy sessions at OhioHealth's Neurological Rehabilitation Center. He had until October 2021, to gain enough strength to join his daughter on her trip to the alter.

"One of the harder things after a stroke or head injury is walking from point A to point B and with no distractions," Renard said. "It’s an entirely different scenario when you have people around and looking at you like he would at his daughter's wedding"

But step by step, Murwin gained his strength back. He said his daughter was his motivation.

"There was one session where my daughter came with me and practiced the walk down the aisle," Murwin said. "She couldn’t wear the dress, but they wrapped her in a sheet so it was like she had her gown on. Katelyn held onto my arm to give me a little support and we walked and paced ourselves so we could get the timing of it."

Then came the big day. With his cane on one side and his daughter Katelyn on the other, the two made it down the aisle.

"It was an emotional time for everybody," Murwin said. "She did her unveil before the wedding and thanked me for all my hard work leading up to the wedding. That made me break down and cry a little bit. Then once we made it down the aisle and I got to my seat I got all emotional again. I was super happy for her and super happy I could be there in that way for her too."

After the wedding, Renard said the team at OhioHealth received a special gift in the mail.

"His daughter sent us this beautiful card thanking us with a photo inside of them walking down the aisle," she said. "I have to say I obviously teared up because Brad and I have created a beautiful patient, therapist-relationship and I consider him a friend,"

Despite reaching his wedding day goal, Murwin continues his therapy and is still working on walking more independently and strengthening his left side.

"I’m still working on trying to get my left arm and hand to work a little better," he said. "The biggest thing now is getting used to not being able to do all the things that you used to without even thinking about it."

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