Gary Gillian, May 31, 2017 9:15 a.m.
Craig, my name is Gary Gillan and I would like to say thank you for being an inspiration on my road of recovery, I was involved in a car accident and I received a defused brain injury and a broken neck (subluxation of the c1/c2), and I must say, I found your YouTube videos most helpfully, in prioritizing my own recovery, I was in a right mess, physically and more so mentally, however once I realised, it was a rocky road that I need to walk alone my life has opened to new experiences, a year and a half on I find myself training for the invictus games and have a good working knowledge of tai chi, something that could not off achieved without my girlfriend and the guys at archers hall Edinburgh , thank you sir may your road be blessed and full of love and happiness. Thank you on behalf of all slightly broken warriors out there. If you were a British citizen, I would advise the powers that be, to reward your drive and unflinching spirit to help others with a knighthood, kudos Craig, your an inspiration. Kind regards Gary
11th Annual NKY TBI Conference Keynote Presentation – March 31, 2017,, EVALUATION RESULTS – Craig Phillips
- The only person I have heard of a way to rebuild the neuroplasticity connections; very grateful for your talk and handouts
- Excellent presenter; *one of the best presenters; * a favorite: very positive; lots of information; encouraging. Great information & survivor perspective
- Very inspiring!! Unbelievably encouraging!!
- Amazing story! Fabulous speaker!
- Thank you for sharing your story with us! Your talk was helpful!
- very well done. Heartfelt, information relevant for/from professional caregiver lens & personal lens – keeping a positive perspective. Bigger process reminders for not getting stuck in frustration but rising above circumstance provide to any of us very rich presentation
- Really enjoyed hearing how the movement with martial arts helped you!
- Great speaker! Loved the examples of skill he built over time through perseverance. Thank you for sharing your faith. That was encouraging.
- An excellent speaker who describe his experience well- he provided great encouragement from his experience.
- Encouraging to hear from Brain Injury survivors. Humorous and likable.
- I appreciated Mr. Phillips sharing his story. His passion for living life to the fullest and desire to help others is inspiring. Thank you.
- Thank you for presenting. You are an inspiration to others to have hope and persevere! Thank you!
For more comments, click: More Comments
Linda S. April 23, 2016 10:32 am
How Second Chance to Live has helped me: I am a follower of Craig’s information and support and help on Brain Injury for more than 2 years. His website to me is like a loving neighbor that is there to help, and the best part is the understanding of the struggles we go through, because he is a fellow survivor. So many times I would open his e-mail (email subscription to his web site containing his next article) and it would hit “home” to the exact struggle I was experiencing. thus making me feel so much better…. Second Chance to Live is a support group at your finger tips. Thank you Craig,
Sgt. Roy Lewis November 23, 2015 pm
I have had the pleasure of knowing Craig for about over 10 years. We would run into each other at the YMCA here in Charlotte, NC. That is where I have taught my two fitness classes for the past 15 years! Craig can be found usually going through his sequence of martial arts workouts in the corner of the gym. The intensity at which he trains himself can capture anyone’s attention as they walk by. So it was only natural to strike up a conversation with him.
I was equally impressed with Craig as he shared with me his personal stories of overcoming his injuries to achieve success in his martial arts. Over the years I have watched him develop into a person who is determined to meet any challenge that comes his way. There were times where he could have given up, but Craig’s will to ‘not to be the problem’ but the solution spurred him onward.
I am blessed to have met such an individual as Craig. He is definitely a role model for anyone who is trying to overcome their personal liabilities. I have nothing but the highest respect and regard for this man.
U.S. Army/Master Fitness Trainer
Ken Collins October 17, 2015 12:23 pm
Craig, you are an inspiration! Your words help lighten the load a brain injury can bring into our lives. Thanks for challenging us to think outside the box and see the forest and the trees!
Ken Collins, San Juan Center for Independence Program Manager
Vice-Chair New Mexico State-wide Independent Living Council (SILC)
| March 6, 2015 3:28 pm
People like Craig Phillips are a unique breed. I’ve known Craig for many years in the context of the brain injury community where he has been an active participant for many years. Craig has evolved as a teacher and a guide to people who are embarking on the journey of living their lives with a brain injury. As a teacher, Craig provides life lessons by sharing his own growth and self-awareness. He encourages and supports the steps leading to action and enhanced self-knowledge. And, as an accomplished life coach and guide, Craig suggests that each person treat the steps they take in their life as part of a work in progress. Perhaps, most important is Craig’s message to live to find hope.
Recently Craig and I shared some communication via email. He told me that he has made two of his e-books available to the public: Being Your Own Hero Through Overcoming Adversity: Tools for Rebuilding Your Life and Living with a Brain Injury: Putting the Pieces in Place (60 Video Presentations from his Second Chance to Live Channel). Craig wanted to make readers of NeuroNotes aware of the increased availability of his two e-books. He has a strong desire to make information available to people living with a brain injury. I was pleased that Craig asked me to tell our readers about his books. With his customary thoughtfulness for others, Living with a Brain Injury: Putting the Pieces in Place was designed to put his articles into a video format for people who find that more accessible than reading. In Being Your Own Hero Through Overcoming Adversity Craig created short, focused life lessons addressing challenges and opportunities for growth which are of tremendous value to all people. Craig is adept at using his own journey as the teaching example and provides effective tools for increasing awareness and growth in each vignette.
Craig Phillips, like Daniel Bax , George Visger and others who have contributed to NeuroNotes , is a member of the group of people known as Brain Injury Thrivers. They have addressed and continue to address challenges in their lives and take the time in their journey to help others find opportunities. I am pleased to know them and to share their work with you through NeuroNotes.
Craig encourages people to visit his website, A Second Chance to Live and to use his e-books.
Rolf Gainer Ph.D Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital
Jessica P. February 18, 2015 10:36 am
My friend, esteemed fellow survivalist, Craig J. Phillips, has inspired me to address Acquired Brain Injury (ABi) via mainstream social media, as I actively confront the many perceptions of daily living with invisible impairments. Thanks to Craig’s courage I am calmly on my way to feeling comforted by my own words, after nearly 7 years.
Instead of being ashamed of the deficits I endure daily, I am happy to open up today. This was not the case in previous years… Now, I learn about ways to positively deal with the adversity of traumatic experiences. Craig also creates videos that can shine light on the challenges we face with ABI.
It was not a specific piece that he had written for “Second Chance To Live”, rather the consistency of the writing component of his personal advocacy, that were of most help to me. As a new parent and spouse to a loving partner (who has also been my primary care attendant, since we met in 2009), I was searching for a person “who may get it” without attending support groups… During the last few years, I had found compassion through a LinkedIn contact. Who just happens to get it completely.
For more than a year, I have closely followed this friend, who offers wisdom in the inevitable daily struggles of ABI. Craig has shown me a side of myself that I thought had died in a motor vehicle collision years ago, and that: there is hope in the darkest corners of depression; if you seek the help you need, it shall be available in time; people are capable and neuroplastic.
Rob McClenahan August 7, 2014 10:00 am
On behalf of our Home Care and Healthcare Advocacy community, I applaud you for your inspirational message when overcoming perseverance in your life time. The poignant message you’ve shared with us is an inspirational message for all people to work hard when overcoming adversity everyday challenges in life bring people. After obtaining your graduate school education, you’ve found your niche with publishing almost 1,300 articles and over 200 video presentations.
If interested, I encourage interested readers of our discussion to share your inspirational message to lift the attitudes of countless people across-the-globe who might be down on their luck because of being diagnosed with a terminal or chronic medical condition. I thought Sue’s contention was insightful because the ‘modeling of your grief process’ can be utilized as a framework for others in learning how to adjust to the daily challenges we all encounter in our life times.
I now opt to conclude with your earlier uplifting quotation because this is an inspirational message to continue moving forward through the odyssey of life.
“It is not as important as what has happened to us, but how we respond to what has happened to us.” Craig J. Phillips
Thank you to everyone for your participation on our Home Care and Healthcare Advocacy group on LinkedIn!
Rob McClenahan August 7, 2014 10:00 am Social Media Specialist at Right at Home, Inc
Tracey Anne Miller — July 8, 2014 12:27 pm
Craig, I wish to thank you from my heart in reaching out to me a well over a year ago! A “reach out” from a survivor to a family member in need and connecting me to some amazing people in our community that is growing rapidly in support! Your story has inspired me, your recovery has inspired me, your advocacy has inspired me, your compassion and love has inspired me, and your passion to help others has inspired me. I am truly grateful and honored to be connected with you and look forward to growth in this community world wide! My Blessings to you and yours! Tracey Anne Miller, at The Miller Family Foundation (on the rise)
Tracey Anne Miller, at The Miller Family Foundation (on the rise)
Viki Kind, MA – January 18, 2014 4:58 pm
Craig’s message is universal. “You can find your way thru tragedy and build a new life.” It may not be the life you had before, but Craig’s message of hope, empowerment and love can help you discover your second chance to live – and live well. I am grateful for Craig’s beautiful writings. They inspire me and bring me comfort. As a speaker, Craig, speaks from the heart and is a living testament to his message. I am honored to know and learn from Craig Phillips.
Bioethicist and author of The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can’t
Conference Attendee Comments
Recently I was a guest speaker at 2 different conferences: Alaska Peer Partnership Conference in Anchorage, Alaska in April 2013 and the Embracing Life and Living Well after Traumatic Brain Injury Conference in Seattle, Washington in May 2013 A few comments that I received from my participation in these 2 conferences were:
“While listening to Craig a light bulb went off regarding my son who experienced a TBI (unknown to me) in middle school and some thing that may help him” and “I was extremely impressed how he showed us how determination is usually all it takes. I appreciate your story tremendously” and “I learned more about individuals with brain injuries” and “keep after your goal”.
“Extremely inspirational, grateful for the entire workshop. Didn’t feel like going & I feel completely uplifted by the experience with Craig”, “I have read Craig’s blog for years. Thank you for bringing him to the conference. He is amazing and very uplifting.”, “He shared his point of view on many levels so that various people could understand”, “Very caring speaker”, “A wonderful story of hope!”, “Craig has lived his subject and has persisted-good message to impart” and “A very inspiring speaker!”
In October 2013 I was asked and gave a keynote presentation at the Southwest Conference on Disability 2013 in Albuquerque with the University of New Mexico. I spoke to approximately 600 – 700 individuals.
Here are several testimonials / endorsement from the conference and my keynote presentation:
Niketa P. Sheth, MPA
Senior Vice President, Quality of Life
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
I met Craig at the 2013 Southwest Conference on Disability, where he spoke as one of the keynote speakers for the conference. His remarkable words of inspiration moved hundreds of individuals in the room. Craig has an impressive ability to share his personal experience in a way that just about anyone can relate. His remarks brought strength and motivation to many in the audience. Craig has also invested much time and effort in creating many resources for individuals. I admire Craig’s dedication to inspire our community through his work with Second Chance to Live.
Rolf B. Gainer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital
Craig Phillips is an exceptional person who has constructed his life to help others. I had the privilege to meet Craig, in person, at the Southwest Disability Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 2013 where he was a keynote speaker. I had known Craig prior to that conference through his website and on-line presence where we had the opportunity to interact and learn about his work. What is impressive about Craig is his forthright manner about discussing his brain injury, it’s impact on his life and his devotion to helping others through Second Chance to Live. Craig has written a blog on our NeuroNotes which has brought his work to others living with brain injury.
Rolf Gainer Ph.D. | January 29, 2013
NRI Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital
Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA, has experienced a traumatic brain injury and through his journey he has created a website A Second Chance to Live which offers each visitor a unique resource for living with brain injury or other invisible disability. Mr. Phillips provides a rich personal exploration of the challenges and barriers he faced in his life following his injury. Each of his teachings are filled with introspection and good sound advice.
For a person living with the effects of a brain injury or other disability, Mr. Phillips will be a powerful resource to staying on the road to a full return to enjoying life. An inspiring project and great tools for recovery and life. I recommend his work and encourages readers of this blog to visit Mr. Phillips’ website:
Jennifer S. March 15 2013 10:44 pm
Craig, you are a brave inspiration to other Brain Injury Survivors (myself included) out there! I am legally blind, but your video’s have touched me in so many ways. It is as if you are reading my mind at times. Bless you for what you do to pay it forward to other Survivors!
Lorraine Murphy September 20, 2012 10:25 am
“Craig is one of the most inspirational figures I’ve ever met. He has not only come back from traumatic injury to achieve greater things than most people dream, he’s retained his humility and his essential good nature at the same time. It’s simply an honor to know him, and I would recommend him to anyone as a speaker or educator. He is at the top of his field.”
Dolly Salters March 8, 2012 7:58 pm
My endorsement for Second Chance to Live. My son William is two years old. He was born three and a half months early. He developed NEC at two weeks old. William had an emergency colostomy surgery. He didn’t pee for two weeks after that which caused severe swelling. He experienced a grade four PVL that left him with brain damaged that caused cerebral palsy. He has global developmental delays. He just turned two and he truly is Strong Will. In the last two years i have done a lot of research and social networking. I found Craig and Second Chance to Live through a group on fb. The messages are practical. They give me a new outlook on situations. I feel motivated by Craig s articles. There are so many ways to look at your situation. Take a look at Second Chance to Live Articles and allow yourself to to use the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given us. We all are in this together. Anything you can do to raise awareness is great. Support our brother Craig and enjoy your reading! Hugs
Dolores E. Green BSW, QMHP, MBA Pending January 7, 2012 12:35 pm
I am very impressed with Craig Phillips’ work, articles, and information especially on the “Second Chance To Live” website that he founded, and authors all articles of very valuable information to not only brain injury survivors but also to those that serve this population and their families.
Craig’s passionate desire to inspire others such as myself as a brain injury survivor by choosing to reach out through his own hardships and sharing with a community of friends who so need what he has to offer has helped educate me regarding the Grieving process after TBI, relationship issues and conflict, and most of all about my rights and services available to me as a TBI survivor.
Through Craig’s mission to help others, i have learned most of all that I am not alone and his ministry is touching the hearts of so many across the globe. I am grateful for our connection through my Case Management Services and connection with the Community Futures’ Foundation in Richmond Virginia.
I am honored to help Market Craig’s website on wordpress.com called seconchancetolive.org because I share in his mission, goals, and vision. The work that God has chosen to do through Craig, I believe will travel the globe and bless multitudes of people from all walks of life.
My injuries have been accumulative over the years until a car accident of 2005 complicated an already difficult to manage illness-Traumatic Brain Injury. I was not aware of the resources and help, so I was not given much of it until a job transfer in Social Work and Counseling warranted my transfer from Wytheville Virginia to Richmond Virginia.
God has blessed me with a strong support system through the Community Futures’ Foundation here and via their links I was connected to Craig and secondchancetolive.org.
Friends, I hope you will support this ministry by connecting and subscribing to Craig Phillips wordpress.com page today called secondchancetolive.org where you will find 800 articles on advocacy, education, and resources of not only brain injury issues but dealing with grief, loss, self-esteem issues, and many more.
Please connect and be blessed today and allow God to minister to you right where you are on your life’s journey today.
Peace and God Bless to Craig Phillips, secondchancetolive.org, all brain injury survivors, their families, communities and organizations that serve brain injury survivors, and YOU!
Dolores E. Green Torres, BSW, QMHP, MBA Pending
Ken Collins Program Manager at San Juan Center for Independence, Gallup, New Mexico January 3, 2012 2:21 pm
“I have known Craig for several years and can say his advocacy work for people with brain injuries is outstanding. He is committed to his work and this helps many people with brain injuries to live more rewarding lives in the community. Craig is a role model and advocate for people with brain injuries. I highly recommend him and the work he does on his Second Chance to Live Website!”
Viki Kind, MA is a Clinical Bioethicist, Consultant, Professional Speaker and Hospice Volunteer January 2, 2012 9:16 pm
“Craig is an inspiration and a person of great wisdom. I love his writings and his dedication to helping people find their way through a medical crisis and back to a meaningful life. He has so much to teach all of us as we journey through each phase of our lives. I admire Craig’s ability to empower those who need the motivation to begin again. I highly endorse Craig as a motivator and inspirational speaker.”
Fermin Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer/ Founder, Freedom Veterans of Florida, Inc worked with Craig J. at Second Chance to Live
“Mr. Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA., is a tremendous asset to any school, organization, or corporation in need of his services.” October 31, 2010
Walter Hamilton October 15, 2011 9:20 pm
“Through the few years that I have been following your articles, and using your example of allowing the process to happen one day at a time I was granted a unique opportunity to experience, a great spiritual awakening. I have learned, to slow my mind down also to appreciate life’s challenges. I have grown as a loving father and a compassionate person from my journey being guided by the process, and living with traumatic brain injury and so my friend; I’m living life on life’s term. Second Chance to Live is a great gift from God. Thank you and May God bless you and your family.”
Kevin Martin, Unified Communications Analyst, Duke Energy was with another company when working with Craig J. at Second Chance to Live November 26, 2010
“Craig has achieved beyond the expectations of others as a TBI survivor and is doing a lot to bring attention to the hidden nature of this condition both personally and through his website. He is also helping empower others to reach their potential in a way that is non judgmental and positive!”
Don Crosby, Founder/CEO at Global Behavior Companies Charlotte, North Carolina Area hired Craig J. as a Speaker in 2010 November 22, 2010
“Craig Phillips is an amazing man with the story to prove it! His passion and quest for life is an inspiration to all who slow down long enough be touched. I have had my operations and physical challenges…but when I compare my story to Craig my eye’s become full of tears and sadness of his journey to fight for his life. He could have quit, but he’s a courageous fighter to help others by encouragement of how they also can succeed and overcome any obstacle. Support Craig, you’ll be glad you did.”
Top qualities: Personable, Expert, High Integrity
Tony Morris, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Writing, Armstrong Atlantic State University was with another company when working with Craig J. at Second Chance to Live October 27, 2010
“Craig is as tireless advocate for people living with brain injuries, invisible disabilities — or adversity in general — and he works hard to promote the concept that people no longer have to remain alone or isolated in their disabilities — that they can reach out to one another to find comfort, courage and hope through the power of identification.”
Lorraine Murphy, skookumchick, raincoaster media ltd worked with Craig J. at Second Chance to Live
“Craig is an inspiration to those of us who’ve come to know him through his blog and work on various other social networks including this one. He is unsparingly kind, respectful, hard-working, and precise. His achievements and the media recognition he’s attained are truly remarkable.” May 8, 2009
Nancy H. commenting on my YouTube video presentations August 23, 2011
I do not have a ‘disability’ other than being human, and I find your words extremely encouraging for every day rigors of life. Maybe disability isn’t really a disability, it’s an opportunity. One that all of us ‘abled’ people could learn from as well. The opportunity to find out that none of us are really that different from each other. No matter what life throws at us, we can stand up and move forward, together, and get there, or not. It’s a choice. And, in the end, we are not that different, in that we experience the same feelings of joy, accomplishment, defeat, determination, perseverance, love, comfort, general pissed-off-ed-ness. All these moments make a life worth living. Please keep up the good work.
Judy H. September 13 11:11 am
I feel so blessed to have found Craig’s Second Chance to Live site. His writings have been an inspiration to me. He’s gotten me through feeling worthless. I too am a traumatic brain injury survivor. I had a great career at an advertising agency.
Loyal Miller July 30, 2011 8:56 pm
That presentation is amazing. I just wanted you to know that not only has second chance given me courage through my journey. It has also given me hope through a world in which I tried to mask myself with denial. Not only did I mask I hid myself from others due to embarrassment and confusion. Because I didn’t want others to know that in the worlds eye that I was less than everybody, and it hurt me. It hurt me because of not having humility to humble myself and say I need help. That just led to people coming and going, in & out of life. You have given me new insight with your website which is very encouraging to me and others with an unseen disability.
Because of your encouragement I will never look down at myself again, no matter how arduous the journey is. That is to say with a relationship with God and family I am able to walk this out, and it’s been difficult at times. Brain injury is tough, and its even tougher when you don’t have others that understand or others that simply say that’s not possible, your making this up, it can’t possibly be that hard. I’m sure you’ve heard discouragement from others in family and outside of family too. It’s like they don’t want to see you now. They want to look at how you were before the injury. That to me has been difficult. I’m still Loyal, but not the same as I was pre-brain injury, and that is where the line of distinction is. That recognition has not happened for me with all family or friends. To have a friend such as yourself that knows personally how devastating things can be, and to keep a positive outlook despite what you’re going through goes a long way. Thank you so much for everything that you do to encourage people like ourselves, and just keep up the good works. I hope that everything is blessed for you & yours always. God bless you!
Brenda Bell July 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm http://brendabell.org
Tiger Lady USA
I can say a lot about Craig Phillips “Second chance to live.” I’ve taken time out to read his articles and I highly recommend every reader to read his articles. I have taken the time out to speak with Craig Phillips, a great human being! He now shares his message on my website because I believe a lot of people can benefit from his post and messages. Sometimes, the real world and society may not understand us or those with brain injuries or TBI survivors. We are just out there, almost forgotten. But with “Second Chance to live” there is support around. More power to you Mr Craig Phillips, God gave you a true purpose. In true respect,
Jennifer Vanella Soprano June 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm Ex, director Jmvrainbowvisions Inc.
A few months ago as I was searching for disability success stories and inspiration and then I came across Craig’s Master Piece ‘A second chance to live” and it stopped me in my tracks. Craig’s passionate words not only uplifts the heart and soul but really reminds us the only thing that can stop us from being successful and happy in this world is ourselves. As a person who has had brain damage her whole life it was inspirational to find another person who gets what it can be like. Keep writing and inspiring –
Jennifer Vanella Soprano
Scott P. Cole May 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Craig Phillips’ ‘Second Chance to Live’ has been a most welcome support to my own travels through the confused-and-confusing world of recovery from/with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This experience is a huge, at times unwieldy and frustrating “process” (my own recovery is now in its 23rd year). I have found his words to be extremely supportive to me personally, in providing a source of invaluable information and support from one who has, in his own remarkable life with the injury, experienced so much of what many BI survivors have experienced/will experience.
The nature and quality of the man’s *heart* is readily apparent in the comfort he supplies to our community.
Susan October 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm
Thank you for your support with TBI!
Your feelings and truth have helped me as a parent beyond imagination. I am sad that one has to endure such a great defeat but on the other hand excited that God has chosen only the strong to move forward with TBI the gifts that have been given to each TBI survivor are unwrapped around the world because of great people like you.
Craig’s work on Second Chance to Live is a lifeline for those living with traumatic brain injury, as a survivor or a loved one.
Donald Parker Myhealingbrain.com May 27, 2010 3:40 pm
Craig is gifted and prolific. What stands out the most, for me, is that the articles are short and to the point. Reading long essays is challenging for me, but the articles at Second Chance to Live are manageable and the content is easy to follow and understand.
So far, after following Craig’s writings through a Twitter feed, for a couple of months, I have learned a great deal about brain injury and I find it comforting to know that someone else understands me, and what I’m going through, on a daily basis.
I highly recommend following Craig’s writings on Second Chance to Live – he is an asset to TBI on the Internet. Thank you Craig.
Ken Collins, Program Manager
San Juan Center for Independence
Gallup, New Mexico
PH: 505-726-2709 March 22, 2010 12:15:38 PM
I wish I had Second Chance to Live to read after my brain injury 33 years ago (December 31, 1976). Your words and insights are doing a great service by helping people with brain injuries and their families better understand many of the issues we live with on a daily basis. As many of us who live with a brain injury know there is no silver bullet or magic pill that will make things better – QUICK.
Our recovery is a slow process and Second Chance To Live makes this process a little easier. Second Chance to Live is a great tool for those of us who provide Peer Counseling to others with brain injuries. Your efforts also offer hope and hope is something we all need as we go through this process.
Hope is something that gets stripped away over time and without hope it makes the process of recovery harder and more complicated than it needs to be.
Thanks Second Chance to Live for providing hope!
Keep up the excellent work you have undertaken on this journey of helping to educate “all of us” about brain injury.
Diane W February 8, 2010 at 2:47 ame
I had a TBI on 9/16/07, as the result of a car accident. I was airlifted to a hospital and my broken bones were repaired there. Several other body parts required medical attention and after coming out of my coma I was transferred to a nursing home/rehab facility. I wasn’t made aware of my TBI until two and a half months after the fact. I knew that I wasn’t “right” but I didn’t know why. I spoke slowly and had trouble putting my words together among a multitude of other thoughts, behaviors and physical changes that I’d not experienced before. I’d always thought that the saying “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most” was funny. It was no longer funny to me, it was too true of me! I’d re-learned how to eat, walk, and talk. Now it was time to really use my head. Somebody had brought my laptop computer to my room. “The old me” used to read and write a lot on my laptop. After months of not using my computer and having memory problems, I found that I had a great deal of difficulty just trying to remember stuff like my user names and passwords. It was then that I realized that I had to start all over. After I rediscovered the benefits my computer had provided, I knew that I had to learn more about brain injury. Family and friends made a point of saying that I was given a second chance to live. I then learned about brain injuries and came across the Second Chance To Live website. I had finally found what I didn’t know existed; a candid website written by a brain injury survivor. Craig’s honesty and candor and insights have kept me grounded. I believe that God blessed me in a very personal way by letting me be exposed to a real life guy with a BI(Craig) that experiences hardships, successes, disappointments, self-doubt and self-discovery in everyday life. Craig’s personal stories provide insight for living every day life. Thank you for using your giftedness to help me.
Carol Welch 2009 /10 /11 10:51 pm http://tossandripple.blogspot.com/
I came across Second Chance To Live as I was researching for a link regarding the “identified patient.” I was writing a blog regarding my own journey and recovery from neglect, and spiritual/emotional/verbal trauma and abuse; thus my search for a link. I wanted a link that was heartfelt, validating, informational, and empowering. I found several links and looked them over. One of Craig’s web post deeply resonated with me and I picked that particular article as the reference link on my blog. At the time, I also read other articles on Second Chance To Live. Shortly thereafter I met Craig via email and we have exchanged correspondence on and off. His correspondence has been genuine, respectful, down-to-earth, and inspiring.
I am not challenged with a traumatic brain injury, yet Craig’s sharing’s are helpful for trauma across the board; not only traumatic brain injury. I find his approach and empathy, mixed with responsibility and valuable tools to help a sufferer learn to live again, empowering. I refer to his sharings from time to time to assist me in my own continued journey of re-discovery of life.
With deep gratitude and hope,
Lea Strongheart 2009 /5/28 11:00 pm
Sometimes when we least expect it, we are blessed to cross paths with an authentic being who has the ability to leave a lasting deposit of love in our hearts as well as in our lives. Craig Phillips is such a person. Like many others who have written, I have had several brain injuries and complex PTSD. One day I found Craig in my email..I do not know how he got there…neither did he. Divine intervention I suspect. I was fighting for my life. My will to live was gone to the point where I had experienced a full life review while in a state of deep prayer. Craig directed me to his writings and reading them helped me. Then he started writing to me every couple of days. A joy. Over the past six months more of my soul essence has returned, and I am starting to feel better. Craig gently confronts me when my thinking is distorted…and reminds me who and what I truly am..because I forgot…His peaceful spirit,unconditional love and compassion have played a huge role in my ongoing healing…I am no longer hopeless or helpless. I even laugh occasionally. Craig is a blessing to me, and to all who connect with him. The essence of holiness is love. Craig embodies love. When you have been blessed by Craig, be prepared..your life might just change. Mine has.
Tom Tuohy 2009/4/10 4:14 pm Dreams for Kids http://dreamsforkids.org/
Craig has truly taken his second chance and made it a model for living with purpose. He is living with the essence of empowerment – embracing circumstance and creating from it a life which is not less but, more than it ever would have been.
I founded Dreams for Kids 20 year ago as a place for youth to be empowered and to live a life of infinite possibilities. There are those who seem compelled to remind us what we have lost and what we cannot do. Craig reminds us that life is lived in the moment with the gifts we are given and the opportunities which are ever present. His principles of acceptance and empowerment are text book examples of how to live a full live. In making each day a good day, you have made your life a good life Craig, and quite an extraordinary one.
Marlee Kivens 2009/3/25 at 11:55 am
Empowering Jews With Disabilities
I have only known Craig for a little a short time, but from the life experiences he has posted, he has a great attitude. Living with a disability is not always easy (I should know I have Spina Bifida), but Craig chooses to take the negative and turn it around to empower himself and others. I have added his blog to my own website, Empowering Jews With Disabilities. His message crosses all boundaries and religious beliefs. My life, and my friend’s lives that I have made through my own website are enriched by his online presence. He brings a voice to TBI that no one else does.
Jen 2009 /2/15 at 6:58 pm Batemans Bay.
My name is Jenny and I suffered a serious closed head injury in December 2004 when the car that I was driving hit a tree. I was unconscious when they found me and I wasn’t expected to survive the night. I spent 9 months in a rehabilitation hospital learning how to walk, talk, swallow & eat & use my fine motor skills again. 4 years later and I’m much better than I was, but I’m still not there yet.
Talk about a challenge!
I live in the small town of Batemans Bay which is in Australia. Batemans Bay is about 5 hours down the coast from Sydney in New South Wales and I felt totally alone until I found Second Chance to Live.
Almost 4 years into my new life as a brain injured soul a social worker gave me the link to Second Chance to Live.
This is the best and most personal site that I’ve ever come across and I wish to applaud the creator (Craig J Phillips) for his tireless efforts in creating articles and offering unconditional support and encouragement to anyone involved in some way with a brain injury.
There is no particular story that stands out to me as I quite often find myself agreeing with what he says. He has a way of articulating what many BI survivors are thinking.
Craig (the creator) did say one thing that has made a huge difference in the way in which I live my life though. That statement will always stay with me. He said “life is for living, not merely surviving”. When I read that statement I realized that in the 4 years since my accident I had been hiding away from the world and just surviving, when I needed to be out there living my new life. I have been doing just that ever since and it has made a big difference to how I feel about my life.
His words of encouragement and first hand experience have helped me enormously, so thank you for creating this site offering encouragement. Many people would feel “doomed” and think that the best of their life is over (I know that I once did), but you encourage people to make the most of their deficits/limitations and to use them as best they can to create a fantastic new life.
Thank you Craig.
He inspires me to remember that having a brain injury just makes me different and that I need to accept who I am and create a wonderful life for myself based on my capabilities.
Craig suffered a brain injury over 40 years ago, so he has lots and lots of practical experience.
He is more than happy to give unconditional support and encouragement, and I’ve found his articles to be a valuable reminder that I’m a special & unique person.
I urge you to tell people about this site as it is by far the best brain injury site that I’ve ever encountered.
Thanks Craig for creating Second Chance to Live.
Lori aka: RisibleGirl http://www.mostlyrisible.com wrote:
This guy is simply awesome
I found my way to the “Second Chance to Live” site while doing searches on traumatic brain injury. The author of the site, Craig J. Phillips, is nothing short of an inspiration to me.
I think that anyone can benefit from his posts, whether it’s someone with TBI or another chronic illness. It is not an exaggeration to say that I always take time to savor what I’ve just read after reading one of his latest posts.
I especially appreciate that he knows what having TBI is like and oftentimes his posts are something that I really needed to read right at that moment.
As I previously wrote- even if you don’t have TBI, I think anyone can benefit from his posts. He’s somehow able show me rainbows while acknowledging the dark clouds. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.
That’s an awesome gift.
Diana Freeman From Living Life on Life’s Terms and Winning, 2008/09/05 at 4:20 PM
What a great inspiration for people everywhere to keep trying even though life may not be easy or what they want. I had something similar called ocular kerotitis and lost the vision completely in one eye and partially in the other due to a sulfa drug reaction. The doctors weren’t sure if I would get my vision back partially or completely. It is enough on top of the already difficult day to day living to know that God is putting more on your plate. It is definitely how you as an individual choose to deal with it and any other situation life throws at you. Will you fall and not be able to go on or is just another part of life? I recovered completely and take it not only as a learning experience but also a wake up to be appreciative of my vision and the world I can see around me. Craig is incredible at drawing the best out of any terrible situation. It is part of life, so accept it and move on the best you can. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
thanks Craig, i read a couple more of your articles (it may take me a little time to get through them all) i still feel sad and a bit alone but knowing that some one out there ‘gets it’ and more importantly ‘gets me’ helps a whole lot more than you may realize and now i’m crying AGAIN. thank you for your encouragement, you are a special person
Hi Craig, Jan here.
From what I have read on your site so far, you do much more than motivate, encourage and empower your readers.
In my eyes, you are more like the Beacon of Light emitting from a Lighthouse, beaming in the darkness, to show the way to those of us who feel lost in the sea of uncertainty….
I thank you, for shining out to me…
Brain Injury Association of Niagara
Normandy Resource Centre, 111 Church Street
St. Catharines, Ontario L2R 3C9
Phone: 905 984-5058 Fax: 905 984-5354
Website: niagara.com/bian Email: email@example.com
September 4, 2008
Craig J. Phillips
Subject: Second Chance to Live
As program director for The Brain Injury Association of Niagara, one of my responsibilities is to serve as facilitator for the peer groups for individuals who have sustained an acquired brain injury.
We appreciate your expressed consent to allow us to share a selection of the articles in your Second Chance to Live blog with our participants.
Craig you personify not only what it is like for individuals who have sustained brain injury, but more importantly, to strive to be the best you can be, and make the most of your talents and gifts that you so generously share through the process of reciprocity…….by giving back so others may learn………families, caregivers, and especially providing enlightenment for those individuals who have sustained brain injury, who may identify, learn and gain wisdom from your insightful writing. It is important for us to promote awareness about brain injury as this does not resonate with the general public, unless it has touched their lives on a personal basis, as opposed to the topic of cancer, or diabetes for example.
You serve as a beacon to show the way……….reminding us that we do have control over the choices that we make…how we choose to act as oppose to react, maintaining a positive attitude and “by” not being limited by our circumstances or situation but encouraging us to look at our possibilities. Living life one day at a time and applying these strategies become an integral component in order for us to continue to moving forward in our personal journey post injury and that there is life after brain injury with many possibilities yet to unfold.
Your inspirational blog provides opportunities for others to abstract and apply some of these positive messages in their daily lives, and we hope that you will continue to share your messages of hope and encouragement by inspiring others to strive to new levels of achievement by turning adversity into opportunity! While we cannot change the direction of the wind, we can adjust our sails to meet the winds of change. Craig you remind us that those who weather change best are those who choose to embrace and adapt to it. Your inspirational messages continue to inspire others to chart their own course.
Kindest personal regards,
Pat Dracup, Program Director
Hinds Feet Farm
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2842, Street Address: 14625 Black Farms Road Huntersville, NC, 28070-2842 Office (704) 992-1424 Fax (704) 992-1423 www.HindsFeetFarm.org
To Whom It May Concern:
This open letter endorses the powerful message Mr. Craig Phillips, MRC, BA, eloquently writes about as creator and author of the website, Second Chance to Live, (http://secondchancetolive.org/), and speaks about as an advocate and motivational speaker for people living with brain injury. Hinds’ Feet Farm is thankful that Mr. Phillips is part of our innovative, post-rehabilitation, community-based, day program as a contributing educator to our community.
The Hinds’ Feet Farm Day Program is a paradigm shift from the traditional medical, treatment, model for people living with brain injury, to a model that embraces a holistic health and wellness orientation, empowering members toward occupation and meaning in life post injury. Hinds’ Feet Farm is a person-centered, member empowered, self-determined, free choice, conceptualized and driven program. Members are self governing through the fluidity of the program by self-designing opportunities to engage in reestablishing and empowering occupation. Program staff, family and professional caregivers, in-kind community volunteers and student interns are guides for members in opportunities for exploration, discovery, confidence and self-esteem in their new identity and meaning in life post-injury.
Hinds’ Feet Farm initially invited Mr. Phillips to be a one time, guest speaker at our program. However, after hearing his message of hope and inspiration, members of our brain injury community wanted to hear more of how they too could embrace a second chance to live. With the driving force of triumph and celebration of the human spirit post brain injury, Mr. Phillips joins us monthly to share his life’s wisdom. Mr. Phillips’ is a peer mentor and life coach cheering our members on towards greater life fulfillment.
Mr. Phillips has a unique role in the local brain injury community of North Carolina and internationally, as a person living with a brain injury and as a professional in the rehabilitation counseling field. He knows first hand the brain injury continuum of care both as a survivor, and as a “thrivor”. My Phillips experience, strength and hope as a traumatic brain injury survivor and a masters level rehabilitation counselor enables him to immediately identify with both survivors and professionals simultaneously.
Mr. Phillips tailors each of his monthly session to our community’s needs and based on his blog postings, such as The Flight of the Butterfly, Traumatic Brain Injury and Isolation, What is my Destiny?. Mr. Phillips invites the members of our brain injury community toward a greater quality of life and their own second chance to live through well formatted presentations, opportunities for introspection to rediscovering one’s mission and vision in life through meaning and purpose, employing professional counseling skills, harnessing the power of group dynamics and process. Ever sensitive to and conscientious of his audience, Mr. Phillips welcomes the immediacy of feedback and lively dialogue. Mr. Phillips’ heartfelt message is masterfully crafted, awakens his audience to “carpe diem,” to pursue our dreams, and to live life to the fullest.
Hinds’ Feet Farm endorses and appreciates Mr. Phillips’ message that invites and empowers persons living with brain injury toward their own health and balance in their life journey. We are thankful for our reciprocal relationship with Mr. Phillips. Thank you Craig!
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Martin B. Foil III, CBIS
William P. DeGrauw, MS, CRC, CCM, CBIS
Day Program Director