I met Ben 9 months into his recovery process from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that he endured from a fall on his bike during a training ride. At the time of the crash Ben was a sponsored cyclist, a national-level athlete and he was rising quickly to the elite of the cyclocross biking world. Ben's writing about his experience spurred a collaborative project with my photography. In the photos we explored the paradox that Ben lived with - a functional body but a "broken brain." He could ride his bike 95 miles in one day, but he held his noise cancelling head phones close at all times, his "safety blanket," to drown out the noise stimuli of ever day life. He could run 13 miles on the mountain close to his home, but he struggled with the attention needed to maintain a conversation or remember common words. This is one account of a pro athlete's experience with a brain injury.
"While I’m apt to have thing be sunshine and roses, this shit is heavy and a very real part of my daily life. It’s taken almost everything I have been working for, dreaming about, my passion, just about everything. TBI’s are tough to explain to people because there is no visible signs, no scars, nothing that shows why reading is impossible, why being in a public place is completely overwhelming and why you get broken down to having to be in a dark room for weeks." - Benjamin Frederick