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This is my story

Jay Waller DPT ’11

Life Lessons Learned

When I graduated from Yale in 1995, I planned to go to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon. All that changed when I was randomly attacked and beaten during a vacation in Hawaii. My injuries were so severe that it took me two years to recover physically. It was another seven years before I realized I still wasn’t back to normal.

I went to see a psychologist and learned my brain had never fully healed. I decided to return to rehab so I could become the person I was before the accident.

I spent two years in intense therapy to restore my cognitive skills and then enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University in the summer of 2008. It’s perfect for me. Physical therapy is a huge component of brain injury rehabilitation. Maybe all things do happen for a reason.

I had some amazing physical therapists who helped me recover from my injuries, and I felt those experiences would put me in a unique position to help others. I am also sharing my story in a documentary called “Going the Distance” ( It features other traumatic brain injury survivors, including Bob Woodruff from ABC News who was wounded while covering the war in Iraq. 

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