Sam Carter wrapped in a space blanket and smiling after marathon

A Full Circle Moment at the DONNA Half Marathon

Patient Experience

Feb 13, 2023

In 2022, Sam Carter was admitted to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital – University Campus, after suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a golf carting accident. She immediately began treatment in our inpatient setting and our Brain Injury Day Treatment (BIDT) Program. The BIDT program is a specialized treatment model that helps patients transition from acute care back to their home. That’s when she met physical therapist, Kelsey Brunsman.

“Sam was training for a half marathon at the time of her accident. She was making great progress while she was with us, and was even able to get back to jogging during her stay. Before she was discharged, I told her to let me know when she gets back to running and that I would do a race with her. In December, I received an email from her asking if I would run the DONNA Half Marathon with her. Of course, I said yes,” said Kelsey.

The DONNA Marathon Weekend fills Jacksonville and the beaches of Northeast Florida with thousands of runners from all 50 states and many countries. Being from New Jersey, Sam wanted to participate in this specific race because Jacksonville is where her accident occurred. On February 5, Kelsey and Sam finished the 13.1 mile race together.

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“Crossing the finish line with her was very special. The paramedic team that responded to the scene of her accident was at the finish line cheering her on. What’s even more special is that the day before the race was her one year anniversary of having her skull piece put back in, and three days after the race was the one year anniversary of us meeting,” says Kelsey.

After the race, Sam told Kelsey she wants them to do the full marathon next year.

“Sam is truly letting nothing stop her and is such an inspiration of perseverance. I am so grateful for her friendship and for Brooks for bringing us together.”

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