Popular actor, Ironman athlete will share stories of recovering from traumatic brain injury
After a 2014 cycling accident, triathlete Greg Parks was discovered lying in the road, unconscious. Four weeks of hospitalization and grueling rehabilitation followed; four months later he was able to resume his life as a new husband and rocket-test engineer. Actor Larry Miller, recognizable for his memorable characters in more than 100 films and TV shows, suffered a life-threatening head injury in 2012. After undergoing brain surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and surviving on life support for a month, the father of two has regained his personal life and career.
Parks and Miller will share their experiences in recovering from life-changing brain injury in a public workshop hosted by the UCLA department of neurosurgery’s Brain Injury Research Center. The event will provide information to the public about how to protect loved ones who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and emphasize the need for standardized medical care for TBI at every hospital.
Parks’ wife, Kathleen Pullen-Norris, will describe the challenges she faced in obtaining proper treatment for her husband and how she coped during his journey to recovery.
Courtesy of Greg Parks
Greg Parks and Kathleen Pullen-Norris
Each year, an estimated 2.4 million children and adults in the U.S. suffer a blow to the head that results in a TBI. Swift treatment can prevent death and permanent brain damage, but not every hospital offers the trained specialists and sophisticated equipment needed to treat TBIs effectively. As a result, tens of thousands of people die each year and more than 5.3 million Americans live with a lifelong disability. March 18 is National TBI Awareness Day.
Wednesday, March 18
10–11 a.m. Media Q&A
11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Public program
Tamkin Auditorium, B level, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, 757 Westwood Plaza (map)
Available for interviews:
Dr. Paul Vespa, director of neuro-critical care, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Larry Miller, actor, comedian and spokesperson for the Brain Injury Association of California
Greg Parks, rocket-test scientist and triathlete
Kathleen Pullen-Norris, Parks’ wife and a neuro-intensive care nurse, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Members of the media may reserve complimentary parking by calling the media contact by 3 p.m., Tuesday, March 17. Parking for oversized vans is extremely limited and must be arranged in advance.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO
Photos from Greg Parks’ wedding, Ironman competition and hospitalization, and video of his rehabilitation are available upon request.
Elaine Schmidt, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, [email protected], 310-794-2272