Mike Rea's Recovery Info & Updates

Mike's family created this blog to acknowledge our heartfelt appreciation for all your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes since his accident. Please check back regularly for updates on his condition and recovery process. We know all of you will keep Mike and his family in your prayers!

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Location: Newark, Delaware

On June 16, 2006, Mike was doing what he loves most in the world~training a race horse! One minute, friends saw him go by at a full gallop. Thirty minutes later, he was found unconscious and barely breathing. Mike endured an emergency helicopter ride to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit where doctors determined he had suffered a severe brain injury and was placed in ICU in critical condition. After three weeks, Mike was transferred to Kernan Rehabilitation Center, then Sunbridge Care and Rehabilitation. He returned home in October ‘06 and continues to work on his recovery. We have experienced much hope and joy as we have witnessed Mike's miraculous journey towards recovery. Mike IS A MIRACLE (the exact words of his neurologist) and continues to surprise his health care providers. Mike faces each day with courage, faith and perseverance; his new job consisting of physical therapy and theraputic riding. Mike is currently undergoing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and is experiencing great progress! FOR THOSE WHO HAVE OFFERED ASSISTANCE, A "MIKE REA RECOVERY RELIEF FUND" HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED TO HELP WITH MIKE'S MEDICAL AND DAILY NEEDS.

Monday, October 05, 2009


I thought I would update everyone and paste my post here and Mike's also from Alex Brown's racing site. We have to keep the Fans of Barbaro up to date because they just help Mike so much in every way but of course we want to update each and every one of ya'll too.

okay everyone,

I've been home a week now and it's still hard to believe that this accicent has left me so handicapped.I think the hyperberic chamber has made my mind work faster than my body can keep up with.It's like dealing with two people at the same time.I hope my body catches up soon or I'm going to go crazy.It was easier when my mind wasn't working so well.I guess we gotta start somewhere.It's obvious it's going to take allot of work.Nothing worthwhile is easy I just thought it was going to happen quickly.Atleast there is something to work towards.I realize now that I could be dead or hurt so bad that there's no hope of recovering.At least I realize that with hard work there is a chance at returning to as close as possible to normal.You guys have been great with your support and now this golf tournement.I don't know how to handle all this.Thankfully I think Rick and Mary are going to be here and actually stay with me.I haven't heard from them yet but my sister has talked to them.I just need to get busy and get back to the therapy and everything to keep working towards recovering.Thank you guys for everything and I'll write more later. Mike

Hello everyone. Well it is ONE WEEK from today when the BIG GOLF TOURNAMENT FUNDRAISER ARRIVES. We are all getting very excited. Mike is back home now. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber helped him so much brain wise that now he says his body has to catch up to his brain. He feels like his brain is faster than his body movements allow and since he has been back home he has fallen quite a bit but is doing alright. One elbow is pretty scraped up though. And of course he is lonely. After being around someone 24/7 for a long period of time and then being home all by yourself, I can see that. It was so easy to get him up and going when he was at Nancy's home because she or her husband was always there pushing him. Now we have to try to motivate him over the phone and get him up and moving. We keep encouraging him to keep practicing his walk and that practicing makes perfect. He did receive over 40 treatments there and will return in 3-4 months to get boosters. The physical therapy team there was also amazing. It's Mike's balance that is so bad and that's the part in his brain that has been so badly affected. We'll keep praying and we'll keep pushing him though. We all appreciate all that ya'll do and these FOB's, hey there is nothing like them anywhere. MAY THEY ALL BE BLESSED FOR ALL THEY DO.



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Miracles Do Happen

Hello everyone, I have some great and promising news for you. Mike has been at my sister's home now for three and a half weeks and oh what a difference in him from what I saw before. I spent Labor Day weekend with him and Nancy and I just kept being amazed at the progress Mike has made. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy has made a difference in Mike's speech, his thoughts, and his mobility. No he still has no balance but is moving a lot smoother and with not as much effort as it was taking him before. Mike says he feels better, has way more energy, and is just more fluid in everything he does. What we have to understand is it was very hard for Mike to even get out of bed, get dressed, put his shoes on, and tie them. It exhausted him to do these things and he would take naps during the day and just be out of it after physical therapy and now he is not taking naps and is able to sit down, get back up, and walk short distances without his cane. He was also falling down a lot and has only fallen (lost his balance and went boom on his bottom or side) a couple times since he has arrived to Nancy's. Mike is almost at 40 oxygen treatments now and will be going back home soon to continue his physical therapy there and his therapeutic riding. The neurologist that he has been seeing in South Carolina is going to try Botox in Mike's bad leg/foot because the muscles are so tight and that might be some of what is keeping him from walking better. But what he does have to do is practice, practice, and more practice of walking. That is what the neurologist has said to do. We walk without even thinking about it and Mike has to think with every movement and step he takes. Mike always says, "If you only knew how hard this is for me to do." Which we don't and never really will but we do know that Mike just keeps on keeping on and we will always be there to help in any way that we can.

We are so proud of him. My sister and her husband has also had a lot to do with Mike getting off this plateau he was on. They are right behind him constantly pushing him all the way. They do all sorts of extra exercises with balls, stretchy rubber bands, and with a pilates machine. Their working him hard. But it is all helping him recover better than ever. Keep your thoughts and prayers coming and may God bless all of you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A New Beginning?

Oh where to begin, where to begin? I’ve been asked by my family and friends (especially my sister and some very special FOB friends!!!) to share the following story with you and to try to put it in writing. I don’t think I can find the words to truly express what an incredible “chain of events” that have taken place over the past week or two, but here goes:

I begin by expressing my sincere gratitude for the thoughts, prayers, support and generosity given to my brother by so many since his accident June 16, 2006. It seems like a lifetime ago when we were told by the doctors Mike was lucky to be alive and facing a very long and uncertain recovery. We thought we knew what lay ahead. It has been over 3 years and Mike and we have experienced much fear, sadness, hope and joy as we have witnessed Mike’s miraculous journey towards recovery and healing. He is a miracle and although he has made incredible strides, facing each day with courage and perseverance, surprising his health care providers more than not, Mike recently hit a plateau and had begun to feel he could not accomplish anymore. Recovery has been Mike’s job these past few years, with almost daily physical, occupational, speech therapy and of course his favorite, therapeutic horseback riding. And although all of us can see how much he has accomplished and are amazed at how far he has come, Mike wanted more………

And along comes a dear friend and FOB, Mary D.! During the fun filled Barbaro Legacy weekend in Delaware, she hands me a copy of an article she had come across regarding a recent grant Dr. Paul Harch has received from the government for the study of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for TBI war veterans. The article also had testimonials from some of Dr. Harch’s private TBI patients who had experienced great results from Hbot. Cathy shares with us that she had asked Mike’s neurologist many months ago about this type of therapy and was told he thought it had been too long since Mike’s injury for it to do anything for him. A few days later, back in SC, I pulled the article out of my purse, read it again and went straight to the internet. After a few hours of research, I had a list of names and telephone numbers of doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc. The next day, I was receiving return telephone calls from just about everyone I had left a message with. Just as I had discovered what a close knit community the horse racing world and the Fan’s of Barbaro were after Mike’s accident, I discovered yet another community of people who were willing to rally with open hearts and whatever resources they had to offer support of a man who has and continues to endure a life changing event. Each conversation with a doctor or nurse involved in this therapy gave me (then Mike and family) hope that Mike could possibly recover more than he has so far.

Now this is where it gets serendipitous or fate like. I don’t know what to call it except that we all know it was meant for Mike to try Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. We had been trying to figure out a way for Mike to undergo treatment with Dr. Harch in New Orleans (Harch Hyperbarics). Since the treatments were going to be out of pocket, they were offering a greatly discounted rate. Still, including food and lodging and one of us staying with Mike, it just wasn’t feasible and I was beginning to think that although Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy sounded like a wonderful opportunity for Mike, it wasn’t going to happen. Then, Mrs. Paul Harch (Juliet) calls me bright and early Monday morning and tells me she and her husband had discussed Mike while on a plane over the weekend. She then refers me to Dr. Pete Stephens of Hyperbaric Treatment of the Low Country in Hilton Head, SC. I called him immediately and I believe would have treated Mike for free if he could have! As we were discussing the possibility of Mike and I coming to Hilton Head, Dr. Stephens asked me if I lived anywhere near Mt. Pleasant, SC. I LIVE IN MT. PLEASANT! It turns out that Dr. Stephens had recently assisted two doctors in beginning a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatment facility less than 1 mile from my home! Before I knew it, I was speaking with Dr. Tim Osbon of Oasis Hyperbarics. Dr. Osbon and his partner, Dr. Eric Brittain, offered Mike treatments for only $100 each! One treatment can cost as much as $840! Within another 24 hours, Dr. Osbon had arranged an appointment for Mike with a neurologist and East Cooper Physical Therapy so that Mike could continue his other therapies without a hitch! Done! Just like that!!
Now the question was where to get the money and how to get Mike down here!
Knowing that trying to raise funds for the treatment would take some time, Mike called a former race horse owner he trained for and asked if she would loan him $5,000 so he could begin his Hbot treatment right away. Done! Just like that!! Two days later, Mom and her husband Durwood, picked Mike up from Newark, DE. Durwood driving Mike’s car and Mom driving hers. From there they drove to Fayetteville, NC where Cathy and her daughter Nicole took over. On Saturday night, August 15th, my brother arrived excited, apprehensive and hopeful!
Here it is, a week later and Mike has undergone 10 treatments. After the first treatment, when they rolled him out of the chamber, his first words were “I finally feel like I’m doing something for myself!” After 2 treatments, Mike’s speech was less forced and his enunciation much improved. After 3 treatments, we suddenly realized he was bringing his leg and foot up to tie his shoes rather than leaving them on the floor and bending over! After 4 treatments, the feeling of pressure across Mike’s jaw and chin is completely gone! These small signs of progress are so promising! Of course Mike would like to jump out of the chamber and immediately run around the block! But we all understand that any progress is good and more, even better. It would be such a shame not to give Mike this opportunity…
So that is why I’m telling this story. We are determined to find a way to afford this for Mike. And as I’ve said before, were it not for the generosity of Mike’s family, friends, FOBs and those that have come to know Mike’s story in other ways, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

So we’re asking again….Please help Us help Mike! Let’s help him continue his simply amazing journey!

FOBs and friends have already begun to rally together! Golf tournament! Raffle! Per Treatment Sponsors! We’re overwhelmed! Thank you, thank you all for continuing to care, to help, for your prayers and for your support!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three Years Ago Today

Hello everyone, I am going to paste what my brother wrote on Alex Brown Racing site for him and then what I wrote also. I just know that my whole family is so very thankful and grateful for all of your prayers and support during Mike's road to recovery. He is still in that race and will cross that finish line one day I truly believe.

Mike's post
Okay I'm back from therapy now and still can't believe it's been 3 years since I had that trip from hell on the filly from hell that I was trying to convert. I guess when they're actually demon possessed there is no converting them. I wish I had thought of that a month earlier when the filly did the same thing with me on a farm where I had met the other trainer on to give her a good workout up a hill with 3 other horses and she bolted past them at the end of the workout and I couldn't pull her up and we fell that day crossing a driveway into the farm. That day I was fortunate enough to only break a finger that stays bent to this day. I should have known that day that this filly was too misbehaved to go on with. But my stubbornness and need for the money I made training her for my friend Bruce Miller kept me working her. Brue and I havae helped each other out for years leading up to this day so I didn't want to disappoint him. Instead I've disappointed him and lots of other people being so ignorant. My faith in God has definitely been tested and still I believe "everything happens for a reason". That's the only way I keep going and to be introduced to you all and everyone I met through this whole FOB site and made good friends with so many of you guys which never would have happened if me and Barbaro hadn't been hurt at around the same time. I just came back from 4 days at Rick and Mary's which was unbelievable.I never new such wonderful people existed and I'm sure they're not the last special people I'm going to get to know a lot better through this whole experience.I just feel like I've taken advantage of a site that's supposed to help horses and other animals. It's definitely been a real blessing to read and write about myself and look forward to the day I can help more with all the wonderful things this site has stood for. Till then I hope I don't get in the way of the good things that this site accomplishes. Be good and keep up the prayers, their working. Later. Mike Rea

Like I have always said, "Yes, my brother is SIMPLY AMAZING"! Today is the day 3 years ago that I received that devastating call about my brother and hit the road thinking would I even make it to Shock Trauma in Maryland in time to tell him how much I loved him and good-bye. I can remember trying to stay cool for my mother who I knew would just loose it if she knew how serious his accident and he was. Can you believe this? I called 911 on Interstate 95 and even asked them if I could put on my flashers and speed. Of course they told me no. Then I even asked if someone could escort my mother and I through each state. Your mind just doesn't even think right at times like that. My mother is terrified of flying and does not fly so I didn't even bother asking her that. But as we were flying down I95 she was calling directory assistance and asking about flying by helicopter the rest of the way. There was so much private praying going on the dear Lord was on our side and my brothers. When we arrived there he was on a ventilator and lifeless and now look at him. Thank God and everyone for where my brother is today. Seriously, I really don't think Mike would be where he is today if it wasn't for everyone of us. I thank my mother and my sister Nancy for making it possible for me to be able to stay with my brother for all those months and help him in his recovery. When my brother gets so depressed and down I remind him that he couldn't breath, think, talk, eat or drink, urinate and the other, move his limbs, nor drive or walk. So if anybody didn't believe in God or miracles, just look at MIKE REA. He's SIMPLY AMAZING!! I still believe the best is yet to come and he is still on his race to recovery. He will be crossing that finish line one day and we will all remember to always believe, believe in miracles, and believe in Mike Rea. May God bless each and everyone of you.


Monday, February 16, 2009

I can't believe how long it's been

I can't believe how long it's been since I last sat down here and poked through these letters enough to write a post much less a good one. I can't even remember the lst time I sat down here and wrote till I felt like I had caught everybody up on what's been going on since I last did. I guess the brain injury is a good excuse for that. I think I've been using that as a good excuse for alot of silly things I would have normally been doing anyway what with a wife leaving and taking all the kids with her. She has been good about letting me see the kids and spend all the time I feel like I can take with them. That's one area that I would change if it wasn't for this crazy brain injury...I would be running all over the place with these kids especially like yesterday at the barn where Rochelle now works which is a perfect place to spend time with the kids and horses. She is lucky to be at such a nice place where she can take the kids in the afternoon and mess with a couple of ponies that are out there and one big enough for my oldest son Jesse to ride. He actually has the most experience than all the kids and looks great sitting on their backs and I'm hoping to get where I can actually go out their some more and help give some pointers to him and the others. All the kids look like naturals. Now I wonder where that came from with their mother and father being so involved in horses. Now Gracie has her own pony that was given to her and will be perfect for her and Hunter for many years and is only 18 years old and looks like he has alot of years left in him. So I am much happier seeing the kids so comfortable out there and knowing how Rochelle is with horses know she'll be there for quite a while. Now that that worry is gone, the time to just worry about myself and recovery is here. It's been hard to just worry about myself with so many unknowns in a very important part of my life. Now I feel like I can put the concentration into my recovery I should have put into it before. Everything seems to be working out in somebody's timing that knows a whole lot more than me and that's great because learning that there's someone in control of the whole situation gives me alot lot of confidence I should have had already but not until you go through something like this are you really sure everything happens for a reason. Also like the other day at riding therapy I had been having a lot of trouble keeping my hands down and still while posting at the trot and I looked liked a beginner rather than someone who has ridden his whole life. This new place has been trying to get me not to have to hang on to a pomel strap I've been hanging onto the whole time I've been in theraputic riding since the accident. I've been having alot of trouble keeping my hands down and still because my arms and elbows are so siff. So as I was driving out there the two weeks ago I started thinking about that part of my riding which used to be my best part, my hands. So while picturing the posting I came up with the idea why I didn't push my hands down while I rose to the post and relax my arms when I sat to the post. So I tried it and it worked great! My hands stayed down and still for the first time without any extra help from a strap! Then the other night at a pig roast I went to and saw Tim Woolley and his wife there and after talking to them a while they invited me to come out to Fair Hill and ride their pony to the track with a couple sets of babies just for company and I would love that. So I agreed, once the weather staightens out. So I hope you all can tell why I'm so excited 1)my wife and kids being somewhere I know they like 2)My therapy going well 3)using my injured brain to come up with a trick that worked with my riding 4)the chance to get back in the racing scene riding Tim's pony 5)learning God is in control, all of it just excites me knowing only God knows what's next and after all the negative things that have happened in my life only positive things are in store for me and that's about all the typing I'm good for. Mike Rea

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wishing Everyone A Merry Christmas

I kept wondering when this day would get here and for some reason it seems like it's taken a long time. MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone and may you be found in good spirits and happy with the way life is treating you. I couldn't be any happier even if I was well and working normally.Just about everything that goes on in my life is due to this accident so all the good things and good people I have met would definitely not have happened if the accident hadn't occurred. And it just continues on with the renewing of old friendships to the starting of remarkable new friendships and being used by God in ways I would have never dreamed possible and the best is yet to come. I am so thankful to the Lord and the old friendships he has rekindled and the new friendships he has ignited. From all the special people from The Friends of Barbaro to All the people who have been friends for 20 years or more to the new friends I've just met like Dawn, the girl who suffered a similar injury some 18 years ago and I feel a very close connection to. What a Christmas season to be getting back to where I can remember so much more. Next is to work at the physical side of recovery and see that continue to improve. And I'm sure with work and prayer and help from all my friends it will improve to a level that amazes everyone. MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR and I'll write more as it comes. Thanks again!!!!! Mike Rea

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Okay everyone, Here is my new and Thanksgiving day post. I just want to thank everyone for all the attention they have given me including prayers and good wishes.I honestly don't know where I would be without all the miraculous creations from above and mainly due to the endless outside intervention of all the Fans of Barbaro and endless group of friends due to the Horse World.I suppose I also need to thank Barbaro for his input which is also endless.The people that have been brought back into my life and also the ones that have been part of my life for over 30 years all due to horses. I just got in touch with a guy who was a remarkable friend in Lexington,Ky and was in business with for many years then actually trained a horse he owned and bred himself over 30 years ago who knew nothing of my accident but gave me some great advice on which directions to head for in the future and plans on keeping in touch,And the maintenance man from my new apartment has a step daughter who received a horrible brain injury from a motorcycle accident many years ago and is partially paralyzed and we have talked on the computer more in the last two days than I've ever talked to anyone and I feel like I can really relate to her,with it being winter outside,staying in and messing with the computer is a good thing. I've also just started taking some Internet courses on ministerial work which is something I'm really looking forward to and can't wait to get started.I wanted to start this some 20 years ago and is one of the good things that has come out of this accident.Well I have to go start getting ready to go to the girl that runs Carousel farms,where I do my therapeutic riding, mother's house for Thanksgiving and that should be real nice.Happy Thanksgiving everyone and God Bless. Mike

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