Gary Busey

Gary Busey 's Traumatic Brain Injury

“About 25 years ago I had an accident on a Harley-Davidson. I went off the bike without a helmet, hit my head into a kerb, split my skull, passed away after brain surgery and went to the other side – the spiritual realm, where I got information. And I came back, and these messages, these definitions, came to me first-class. I’ll think of a word and write the word down without thinking. “recalled by American actor Gary Busey.

On December 4, 1988, Busey was severely injured in a motorcycle accident without a helmet on head. His skull was fractured and suffered permanent brain damage. After the surgery, he had to learn how to walk and talk and eat, dress himself again and get a rebirth in 2 months. However, Busey's brain injury has had a greater effect than realized. He said his TBI essentially weakened his “mental filters" and caused him to speak and act more impulsively than before.

Accident was a blessing

Even though it was a hard time for Gary Busey to get recovery from TBI, he does not give up on his life and always keeps an optimistic attitude. He replied to the question of how the accident changed him, “. I don’t have brain damage; I have a brain disordered in a better direction because of how it happened and how it recovered. Oh, boy!” And he believes this is a part of his journey, growth and understanding. Moreover, after his recovery, Busey became a campaigner, met with President Clinton, and helped to enact the Traumatic Brain Injury Act, which required all motorcyclists and passengers to wear helmets.

We should have the courage to face and be positive to what cannot change, as Busey mentioned in his book, Buseyisms ,“If we look at our life deeply, everything that happens in our life is a blessing, one way or the other.”


Resources by Tracy Xu

Voices of Brain Injury

  • Instagram @voices_of_braininjury

Instagram @voices_of_braininjury

Bridging the gap between public and brain injury community through shared narratives.