Defying Gravity: Rising Above Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Defying Gravity: Rising Above Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Lauri Rogers

Defying Gravity is a love story of a family that walks with their beloved airman as they begin their journey to overcome the devastation of severe traumatic brain injury.

While serving in the Air Force, Senior Airman, David Eric Rogers, II is catastrophically wounded in a car accident on his way to work as an F-16 Crew Chief. He has internal organ damage and multiple fractures to his pelvis and ribs, but his most critical injury is a potentially deadly and life-altering severe traumatic brain injury.

This account by his mother, Lauri Rogers, is deeply personal and emotional as she shares the family’s perilous journey filled with hope and fear. It gives readers insights into the complex system of military care and how families cope as they navigate the maze of treatment for traumatic brain injury.

Defying Gravity is also available as an eBook click here.

Item: DEGR
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Full Description

His parents are rushed to Germany where David is stationed. They are given two grim predictions. Their son will either die or remain in a persistent vegetative state. Expected to kiss their son goodbye and remove life support, David’s parents choose instead to reject the prognosis and defy gravity.

Defying Gravity chronicles David’s inpatient recovery as his parents push the medical community at three hospitals in two countries to provide what science can offer him while the family adds faith, hope and love to the treatment plan. They learn the ins and outs of not only the traumatic brain injury world and the medical community, but that of military procedures and protocols.

As they make decisions to care for David in whatever condition he returns home, David’s parents decide to relocate from northeast Ohio to Richmond, VA to access the excellent care and practitioners at The Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Medical Center. They have to negotiate David Sr.’s job, a building contract on an ADA and VA compliant home, and support services for David’s outpatient life and continued recovery.

Lauri must reintegrate herself into family life and responsibilities after a seven month separation. She is challenged to develop a family lifestyle that balances David’s care and their four children still at home. Transitioning from homeschooling to public schooling and learning to make David’s care a family affair become the focus as they all learn to Defy Gravity.

ISBN# 978-1931117821
Pages 104 pages, soft cover, 7 x 8
Year 2015


Lauri Rogers is above all a wife and mother. Prior to 2009, she was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of six children, Erica, David, Andrew, Aaron, Zoe, Tori. She and her husband, David, lived in a quaint rural pocket of suburban Cleveland, and have since moved to the Richmond, VA area to garner superior continued care for their son, David, a wounded warrior.


  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Crisis
  • Chapter 3 – The Vigil
  • Chapter 4 – Celebration in the Storm
  • Chapter 5 – Growing Support
  • Chapter 6 – Awakening
  • Chapter 7 – Frueh Reha
  • Chapter 8 – Battle Fatigue
  • Chapter 9 – Defender to Advocate
  • Chapter 10 – Wachkoma
  • Chapter 11 – PCS, Permanent Change of Station
  • Chapter 12 – Wheels Up in 24
  • Chapter 13 – Full Circle
  • Chapter 14 – Just Out of Reach
  • Chapter 15 – Reunion
  • Chapter 16 – Aboard the Flagship
  • Chapter 17 – So Let’s Talk
  • Chapter 18 – Ambulating
  • Chapter 19 – Caring for the Caregiver
  • Chapter 20 – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Chapter 21 – Hello World? It’s Me, David
  • Chapter 22 – Under One Roof
  • Chapter 23 – Landmark Joys
  • Chapter 24 – So Many Questions
  • Chapter 25 – Building a New Life
  • Chapter 26 – Not an Only Child
  • Chapter 27 – Juggling
  • Chapter 28 – Integrating David
  • Chapter 29 – Setback
  • Chapter 30 – Trauma Drama
  • Chapter 31 – Food, Glorious Food!
  • Chapter 32 – Never Finally Arrives
  • Epilogue


May 25, 2009, Memorial Day e-mail to David:

“This is my command that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for another. Thank you for serving your country and your family.” Love, Mom

He never read it.

May 26, 2009. - The Call

I had been at the softball fields for about an hour. All four kids at home were playing on the local leagues. The girls were at one field the boys at another. I had positioned myself between the fields to watch both games. My mom was there to watch also. About ten minutes into the games, my husband, David, Sr., walked on the field.

“What’s up? That was fast,” I commented. I had expected him to take the whole game time to work out some issues at home. “Lauri, [our son] David’s been in an accident we have to go to Germany right now.”

He looked too serious and I was starting to hear him from a distance.

“Another climbing accident?”

“No, he’s been in a car accident and has a severe head injury. We’re pulling the kids at the end of the inning.”

I went straight to the stands and began informing the teachers who were also moms of kids on the teams. They assured me that they would assign teacher’s aides to help the kids with their year-end projects and homework. “Don’t worry. Just take care of your son. We’ll take care of the kids.” What a great bunch of people.

When I got home, a call from David’s commander came in. She sounded really rattled, I kicked into a comforting mode to her, assuring her that we would be there soon and that David would be okay. I had no idea of what was going on except that, “It was very serious” and he had had surgery. I had a sense of calm that made my assurances to his commander genuine. Peace that passes understanding. Trust that also passes reason.

Next came the call from Randolf AFB. It was too late in the day for me to fly that night. I had my passport and other papers ready. I had packed a tote bag with two changes of clothes, no liquids and a toothbrush. Erica, my oldest daughter called to make sure I was okay. “David’s going to be okay Mom,” she reassured me. “The whole church here is praying and some have had visions. He will recover. He’ll be different, but he’ll recover.”

“Yes, Erica, I agree. We will have our Mr. Toad back, although he will be an altered Toad, “I quoted The Willows in Winter, a book I had just finished reading to the kids. The thoughts of David’s adventurous nature and the outcome of the Toad at the end of the book gave me heart break and hope.

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