Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Alliance Celebrates Shoreline Man’s Inspirational Journey to Recover from Traumatic Brain Injury

Jason Gasseling visits the Mountlake Terrace gym three times a week to work out hourly with his trainer. Cardio and abdominal exercises are his favorites, but workouts can include anything to improve his strength and mobility.

A Shore dweller raised in Yakima, Gasseling enjoys hardship, camaraderie and physical satisfaction. He is the best at doing basic Pailo boxing exercises, pushing himself hard and “sometimes I have to slow him down.” – said coach Lee Scott.

His long-term dedication to training was probably crucial when Gasseling suffered a head injury in a motorcycle accident on July 12, 1997, said his mother, Dolores Gasseling, from Yakima.

“They told us that because of the strength of his neck when lifting weights, it probably saved his life,” she said.

The Washington Brain Injury Alliance honored Jason Gasseling at its annual gala Saturday night in Seattle. The event is the nation’s largest fundraiser for brain injury support and the alliance’s primary funding source, according to its website. The proceeds are used directly to fund services for the care of traumatic brain injury survivors and their caregivers.

This comes five years after Jason’s father, Tom, a renowned hop manager, broker and farmer, died at the age of 67. They will remember him when several other people joined Dolores and Jason at the event, including Jim Tobin, Jason. good friend from elementary school.

“He’s Jason’s biggest support. He takes him to the Seahawks games, checks him out. Jim asked Jason to be his best man, ”Dolores said.

The Alliance had an immeasurable impact on Jason’s recovery.

“This is a wonderful organization,” Dolores said. “They were the greatest resource. They are like family. “

Together with the Alliance, Gasseling’s family and friends supported him – and each other – with their unwavering faith and love.

“I will tell you that our faith in the Lord and a strong marriage, our family and close friends are what also helped us through all of this. We knew we had to rely on the Lord to get through this, ”Dolores said.

Prayer, Perseverance, and Determination

Gasseling’s daily routine strengthens him physically, mentally and emotionally. He wants to stay in shape, which includes riding his stationary bike at the Waterfront group home that he shares with other head injury survivors.

Physical fitness and sports were a big part of his life. Along with football, he played golf and basketball, and football was a favorite pastime in his youth. The inspiration came from his father, who received a full football scholarship to Notre Dame.

Gasseling’s mother enjoys sharing her son’s upbeat attitude and ability to inspire and motivate others. He doesn’t drink, she eats healthy food, and loves hanging out with friends at nearby Starbucks, which he visits four or five times a week, she said.

“Jason doesn’t meet a stranger. He is very outgoing. He is very proud of himself and his achievements, ”said Dolores. “He protects wherever he goes. He inspired people. He talks to them and tells his story. “

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Gasseling was in a coma for almost a month after the accident, and doctors were not sure if he would get out of it. They told his parents that he would not be their son.

On the evening of July 12, 1997, he borrowed a friend’s motorcycle to drive around Kittitas County, where he lived with friends while attending Central Washington University in Ellensburg. According to his mother, some of the teenagers in the pickup were driving out of the driveway and he was unable to stop in time and crashed into the pickup.

He was wearing a helmet, but his head hit the side of the truck, causing his brain to be dissected. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was in a coma.

The family was shocked by this news. They went to nearby St James’s Cathedral in Seattle, lit candles and prayed. “At that time, we made an oath that Jason would get well and that he would not be a vegetable, and we did our best to let him know that,” she said.

Gasseling was in Yakima for Christmas 1997, but according to his mother, his return to his home has only just begun. “He still couldn’t speak. … He had to re-learn how to do everything – talk, walk, swallow, feed himself, brush his teeth, ”she said.

After being freed from the Good Samaritan, Gasseling lived with his parents for about two years before “we bought him a duplex, which happened to be at the end of our road,” Dolores said. “He could live and move there.”

Wide support team

Just months after his father’s death, Gasseling moved into his current home on the Waterfront. By then, he had made tremendous strides in his recovery after many months of speech, recreational, occupational, physical, and pool therapy, five and sometimes six days a week. It improved slowly but steadily.

In late 2003, his family gave him a Gold’s Gym membership in Terrace Heights and hired a personal trainer. Gasseling took the Access Paratransit to the gym, where, thanks to his optimistic attitude, he made another friend, the owner of the gym, Steve Pratt.

In addition to training, he worked with Pratt and Michael Kane, owner and founder of Pro-Motion Physical Therapy and Pro-Motion Functional Fitness in Yakima. He worked for them until he moved to Seattle in 2017.

The motivation continues today with Scott, the trainer who, over the past two years, has developed a Gasseling program that includes the practice of walking without a walker.

“Most people take for granted what he struggles with every day,” added Scott, who admires Gasseling’s skill, his dedication to exercise and his acceptance of the job being done over a long period of time.

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