The Brave Podcast

Against all Odds with Courtney Maronic

November 11, 2020 Season 1 Episode 45
Against all Odds with Courtney Maronic
The Brave Podcast
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The Brave Podcast
Against all Odds with Courtney Maronic
Nov 11, 2020 Season 1 Episode 45

In this episode of The Brave Podcast, we get to hang out with Cortney Moranic.  Cortney was thrust into the world of traumatic brain injury when her son Toran was severely injured during a football scrimmage. His prognosis was poor and the family faced lifelong disability. Against all odds, Toran recovered. This experience led the Moranic family to start T3 Charities which was established with the primary purpose of providing a helping hand to families suffering hardships, as well as to spread hope and awareness regarding football related traumatic brain injuries. Against all odds, Cortney shows us that tragedy can really become a triumph. Cortney is a mom of two boys and currently lives in Missouri with her husband, Dave.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Courage
  • Adversity
  • Resilience

Follow the Brave  Podcast

Learn More about T3 Charities and their newest movie, Game Changer

Let's shop!

The Drifted Drum has apparel, gifts, and decor that are faith inspired and hand crafted by local artists in Tennessee. They will also host an online retreat on 12/5. See something you like? Interested in the retreat?  Use the code "Brave" at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase.

Do you LOVE bagels? Coffee? Just plain joy?

  • Guys, one of my new favorite spots to visit is Clingans Junction. It's a quaint little coffee shop in Squaw Valley that is on the way to Kings Canyon National Park. If you're a Fresno local or you ever visit this area, you gotta stop here. Yummy homemade pastries and delish coffee await you.  

Do you love to read but don’t have the time to sit down?

Try Audible! Get a month free:

Wanna learn more about me? Check out my website! 

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of The Brave Podcast, we get to hang out with Cortney Moranic.  Cortney was thrust into the world of traumatic brain injury when her son Toran was severely injured during a football scrimmage. His prognosis was poor and the family faced lifelong disability. Against all odds, Toran recovered. This experience led the Moranic family to start T3 Charities which was established with the primary purpose of providing a helping hand to families suffering hardships, as well as to spread hope and awareness regarding football related traumatic brain injuries. Against all odds, Cortney shows us that tragedy can really become a triumph. Cortney is a mom of two boys and currently lives in Missouri with her husband, Dave.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Courage
  • Adversity
  • Resilience

Follow the Brave  Podcast

Learn More about T3 Charities and their newest movie, Game Changer

Let's shop!

The Drifted Drum has apparel, gifts, and decor that are faith inspired and hand crafted by local artists in Tennessee. They will also host an online retreat on 12/5. See something you like? Interested in the retreat?  Use the code "Brave" at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase.

Do you LOVE bagels? Coffee? Just plain joy?

  • Guys, one of my new favorite spots to visit is Clingans Junction. It's a quaint little coffee shop in Squaw Valley that is on the way to Kings Canyon National Park. If you're a Fresno local or you ever visit this area, you gotta stop here. Yummy homemade pastries and delish coffee await you.  

Do you love to read but don’t have the time to sit down?

Try Audible! Get a month free:

Wanna learn more about me? Check out my website! 

Support the Show.

Cortney Interview

[00:00:00] Alexis Newlin: [00:00:00] Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the brave podcast. So excited to have you here with me today.  I want to say before we get started. It's veteran's day at the time of this podcast coming out.  I want to thank all of those who served our country. And basically had it where we can live in freedom today. So I am thankful for everybody who is served and I just wanted to. 

Give my love to those who are in the service. All right. So in December, if you guys remember me mentioning a couple of times before on previous podcasts intros. My friend, dr. April Jones is doing kind of a day virtual retreat on December 5th, where you can get together. You're learning about your purpose. Learning about rest. It's a great retreat. I will put all info about that in the show notes as well. And if you sign up and use brave and the checkout, you get 10% off, that's a really great deal. Thank you so much for that April. All [00:01:00] right. So today's guest is my friend, Courtney moronic. Courtney son was involved in an accident while he was playing football back in 2016, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. 

, Courtney shares how that experience led them to start a nonprofit. To reach out to other traumatic brain injury survivors. You're going to love the story about Courtney and her family and how they came. To kind of be thrown into this community of traumatic brain injury survivors and basically advocating for those with disabilities. 

Alright, thank you guys so much for tuning in,  And without further ado here is my interview with Courtney moronic.  

All right. This is Alexis and I am the host of the brave podcast. And today I have on my friend, Courtney, Courtney, I'm going to butcher her last name.

[00:02:00] Courtney Maronic: [00:02:01] That's Moranic, Moranic. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:02:02] Okay. Courtney moronic and Courtney, introduce yourself. Tell people why you're awesome and what you do. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:02:11] My name is Courtney Moranic and I met Alexis through, when my son Toran, was at Valley children's hospital with a traumatic brain injury. And, she was one of his therapists.

So, basically now I just run a nonprofit and we help sideline athletes, who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, kind of, we give them hope and help their families. Get back on their feet, you know, with medical bills or whatever they need after, you know, they've been through what we've been through and kinda help them just overcome their adversity.


Alexis Newlin: [00:02:43] So I'm going to go back to the day of Toran's accident  . If you don't mind me starting there, 

like what happened? How did he get injured? 

Courtney Maronic: [00:02:52] So we were, we live in, well, we lived in Auburn, California, and we were in Morro Bay, which was about six hours from home. [00:03:00] Torin was at a non-contact 77 football camp with his, high school football team.

And it was, June 24th, 2016. He went up for a pass. it's a non-contact camp, so they don't wear, You know, full pads and helmets and everything. They had like a soft shell helmet and he just went up for a pass. He was trying to keep his feet in bounds and didn't see that there was two men standing right by the sidelines.

They were watching a different game. So their backs were turned and Toran flew, straight into them. He was knocked unconscious and then he hit the ground with no protection. we were frantically waved over, you know, We've been sports parents since they were five, the kids are five. So we don't jump up every time they, you know, are laying on the ground, but this was just different.

They were waving us over frantically and he only got to Toran. He was in a full seizure and he was unconscious. And so obviously terrified. I started screaming and screaming right away and I kind of actually left him [00:04:00] until Dave got to him and, So, yeah, long story short, he was taken to the local hospital, there in San Luis Obispo and you know, the, the first CT scan didn't show any injury.

It showed no injury to his skull or his neck or anything. And so they were just kind of unsure why he wasn't waking up. so in the morning is when they sent him to Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno. They flew him there. And they were able to do like an MRI once he got there. And that's when they discovered that he had a diffuse axonal injury, traumatic brain injury, that's deep inside of the brain.

And so five areas of his brain had been damaged, including the brainstem. So we were in shock to say the least, because just two weeks before this injury torn was MVP at the state lacrosse championship game as a junior.S o he was literally at the highest of highs in his sports career, scheduled to go D one for lacrosse or football for college.

And, you know, two weeks later he's in a coma. [00:05:00] So we just were shocked. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:05:02] Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't imagine what was going through your mind. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:05:07] It, it was, it was unbelievable. You know, there were moments where, you know, because they, they have to give you the worst case scenario. And the worst case scenario for diffuse axonal injury is less than 10% of people wake up from their coma.

And if they do wake up, most likely they're going to be in a vegetative state, the rest of their lives. And we're just looking at our son who, you know, he's sitting in a children's hospital and he is six foot one, 180 pounds and 16 years old. And. He's surrounded by all these babies on the NICU floor or the PICU floor.

And we're just like, no, you know, we, we knew Toran and Toran had always been a perfectionist. You know, he was an honor student. He was good at every sport. He played, he was like a golden child. He never said a bad thing about anybody. He helped the autistic kids at school. He, he just was all around good kid and we're like, [00:06:00] No like this isn't this isn't good.

This isn't right. You know, this isn't going to be our son. And we just, you know, Dave, and I would just look at each other and say, no, they're wrong. You know, he he's a perfectionist, like he's going to get through this. And when he does wake up, he's going to fight. And there was just something in our being that just told us that there was no way this was going to be our life, you know?

Yeah. I mean, but you don't. No, you, you know, we're positive people, but there's those moments. They can get pretty dark and you let yourself get goes there. You know, like what if, like, what if this is it? And I got to tell you that through our journey, we've met those kids who are still in vegetative states from their traumatic brain injury, from playing football.

We know from football, we know kids from skateboarding, from car accidents, from jumping on trampolines. We know all sorts of kids that are, suffered traumatic brain injuries from, from everything. you know, [00:07:00] focus on football related traumatic brain injuries, because that's kind of what happened with Toran, but through our journey, we've met families that have kids that have suffered them from all different kinds of things, but.

You know, Toran with the out of all the kids we know with diffuse, axonal Toran is the only one who's come out of it. The only one. Yeah. So, you know, we're grateful. You kind of have that survivor's guilt sometimes especially when, you know, as soon as I hear of a kid, who's got an injury, you know, I try to get in touch with the family and the parents and, you know, just to give them hope, look, you know, Toran was able to recover from this and, you know, there's hope the brain can heal.

And sometimes their kids don't recover and you just left feeling guilty that you're right. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:07:49] Yeah, like why did this happen to my kid and the this kid is not right. Yeah. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:07:54] And that truthfully, I believe, I mean, you know, I know that God led us down this journey, but I also [00:08:00] believe that Toran was at, at the right hospital at the right time. I mean, Valley children's hospital.

You at first, we were kind of like annoyed that our son was getting sent to a children's hospital. Right. And he thought 

He's a big kid, 

Alexis Newlin: [00:08:11] he was. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:08:12] But from all the other kids that we know that didn't get sent to children's hospitals. You know, they ended up rooming with 90 year old men in rehab, you know, they just don't get the care that they could get at a children's hospital.

And. I truly believe that. I mean, Toran no  sooner opened his eyes. You guys had him standing up and walking and trying to count money. It was like, you didn't allow his brain to rest, like to get dormant. You just were like awakening it. The second he was awake and I will forever be grateful for that, you know?

And his injury changed our lives in so many ways. And we, my husband, he believes in God before all of this happened, but he didn't have faith.  that's the difference. Like now he credits everything to God. [00:09:00] He,  gives him the glory for everything that's happened in Torans life. And he, my husband is a changed man because of Torans injury.

it softened him, you know, it allowed him to talk about hard things, talk about, his feelings, it just completely changed them. And I'm like, if for no other reason than this is why it had to happen, you know? So. Yeah, it's been crazy. Yeah, 

Alexis Newlin: [00:09:24] Definitely. I can't even imagine. I remember meeting you guys in the kind of the beginning and he was, he was just so sleepy.

And were, there  times that you just kind of got discouraged and lost, felt like you were losing hope, just watching him kind of struggled with 

Courtney Maronic: [00:09:38] that. There are definite times. but we never allowed Toran to see that. We never spoke negatively around him. We kept hope alive. We even kept hope alive for him to play football.

You know, he thought he was gonna play football one day and we never told him that that's never going to be a possibility. We just kind of were like, well, we'll just have to see how you [00:10:00] heal and things like that. And he told us, he has told us that. Had we told him back then that it was an absolute, no, he would have never worked so hard to recover.

Cause even when we got home, he had therapists come. You know, every day three therapists came, he worked his complete butt off. Like he, you know, with the, with the diffuse axonal injury, you know, he was like in a low arousal coma for awhile where he just, they just couldn't get him to fully wake. Right. And so they had him on Ritalin and everything trying to wake him.

And he just, he pretty much slept 20 hours a day. The only time he was awake was for therapies. And so, you know, that sleepy groggy, he, he said, it's like, you're in a dream. Like, you feel like you're dreaming. It's like a dream like fog and that fog didn't lift for almost a year. Like completely. He doesn't remember.

Yeah. He says he doesn't hardly remember. Any of that. So he did two senior years. So his first senior year was right after the injury. He [00:11:00] hardly remembers anything about that year. Like he literally said, it's like, and here, you know, six months into it, he's driving. He told us now I probably shouldn't have been driving.

I'm like, great. And I mean, he made him go through GMV, made him go through, like he had to go behind the wheel again and do all those things that now he tells us, like, I still kind of felt like. A dreamlike state, like just kind of everything moves low. It's like a fog. And I don't know how to explain it.

Except when I ask other TBI boys, you know, they, they kind of talk about it the same way. It's almost like things are just in for motion. It's like kind of foggy. And then one day it just kind of lifts and they can see clearly and Toran gets that way still to this day or four years out, if he's super tired, he still feels like it's kind of just like he's in a dream.

I don't know. That's just how he explains it. So I can't imagine what it feels like to them. You know.

Alexis Newlin: [00:11:55] When you guys got home and like started your new normal, was it [00:12:00] hard to adjust? 

Courtney Maronic: [00:12:01] , it was, you know, it's funny. It's the whole time you're in the hospital. You think? Ugh. I just can't wait to get home.

I just can't wait to get home. Once we're at home, we're going to be in our own element. Everything's going to be great. Home was a huge wake up call for us. It was. Horrible. And here's the deal, you know, before, before Toran was injured, I took care of the elderly. I worked, you know, in a, in a assisted living and I took care of Alzheimer's dementia.

And I swear God put me in that position because he knew that I was going to need to know what I was doing with Toran. And it was like having one of my residents being at home, you know, Toran was combative. He, we couldn't leave him alone for one second because his, his balance is so bad that, you know, if he were to fall, it's catastrophic.

So he slept in bed with me was a bedrail, you know, he had his gait belt. you know, I had to take him to the bathroom, had to help him in the bathtub, all these things, but he was combative because of the medication and everything else. And it was [00:13:00] like, brutal. It was literally like, I was on my job for 24 hours a day because he couldn't leave him alone.

And yeah. And then you've got a kid who's like, he's completely opposite from the kid that we had at home before his injury. The sweet kind, loving, caring. He was nasty. And. Just angry and just, it was, it was horrible. He had Dave and I in tears, like every day. And then you have the pure exhaustion because you're tired.

You've got people coming over. They want to visit, which, you know, the doctors told us. You, you let people come visit during his therapy time, they can help with therapy because when therapy, when the therapists are gone, he needs to rest. He needs complete rest. And so we did, we started having people come during that time. But you know, everybody wants to support you and they want to bring things over and they want to see Toran.

And it's like exhausting. And not to mention, you know, when you're at the hospital with your kid, I mean, the nurses and [00:14:00] therapists do everything, you know? so when you have to do it all, it is just like, it's a lot of work. And so, you know, it really took some time to get used to it. so yeah, it was everybody.

I always warn people. Now I will tell the parents, I know you really want to get home. I'm just letting you know, when you get home, it's not going to be all it's cracked up to be like, it's gonna be hard. Cause it's, it is very difficult. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:14:25] It's so interesting because we kind of gain a little bit in this when we like follow up with a case afterwards and that our families.

But it's interesting to hear that you guys had like a rough hard year of just him healing and like the struggle that you guys had with him at home, because I remember meeting and seeing him and he'd be so calm. And so 

Courtney Maronic: [00:14:43] sweet.

Yeah, it was hard. And, you know, and then what happened was, you know, here's this kid who, you know, he comes home from something like this.

He's got all this support and, you know, and then it's like all of a sudden his football team, they're busy, they're in football where he's not in football. [00:15:00] And so, you know, he no longer had like, you know, the support and then what happened was. Toran looked completely fine on the outside. Yeah, the good-looking kid, he he's, you know, once he was able to start going to the gym and stuff, you put on the weight, he put on the muscle, he looks great.

Well, people at school, you know, weren't, they weren't believing, he was really as injured as we're all saying he was right, because it's an invisible injury, it's an invisible disability. And so, you know, he started just getting crap at school and then like, You know, Toran was always popular because of sport.

It's not because of social. Because socially he didn't go to party. He didn't like. He kinda, he know he was a smart kid. And so he was in like the smarter classes. And so what made him popular was sports. And so you take the sports away from him and now he's just a socially awkward kid who helps the autistic kids at school and doesn't go to parties.

Right. So he's not really that cool. And so, you know, [00:16:00] kids just kind of each friend just kind of fell off one by one by one, because Toran, you know, slept a lot and he wasn't able to, you know, be on Snapchat and all this stuff. And then I'll never forget. He came home hysterically crying one day. Oh.  his , four best friends on the football team who were the captain.

, they came to him and told him that he was a waste of a captain spot and he needed to give his spot up for somebody else. Now, this is a kid who's been a captain since he was five years old, but he's always a captain cause he's always the best kid on the team. And, well, he was devastateda you know, here, he can't play football, but he's still on the team.

And now they want him to give up his captain spot. So his coach got wind of it and his coach sat the team down. He said, how dare you? He said, Toran, nearly lost his life trying to score a touchdown for this team. You will show him nothing but respect, you know. , but it changed him and [00:17:00] he lost friends.

And so luckily for us, he did that fifth year of high school because once those kids graduated, he had all the kids who used to look up to him who were the grade below him. And they all looked up to him. Those were his new friends and they've all accepted him. And to this day, they're all his best friends and Toran was a young senior.

So when he got hurt, he was 16 and he was starting his senior year. So he was going to be a 16 year old senior. So that extra year of high school didn't really affect him. He was still 18 when he graduated, like most kids would have been. So, but it was tough. It's, you know, People think, Oh, he's doing so great.

He looks a bit, no, he is torture that first year was torture. Yeah. Especially because he wasn't able to play a sport either, which is usually what kept him, you know? luckily for us, dr. released him to play lacrosse. And 20 months to the day of his injury, he was back on the lacrosse field [00:18:00] and they won a state championship.

Yeah. They won a state championship that year. So he wasn't the same athlete that he was prior, but he was still the top third score on his team, you know, below his little brother, but, you know, Dave coached and it really was cool to watch. That last year Toran got to play with his brother and their dad coached.

And it was just a nice full circle moment. And, you know, and I it's really cool cause you know, they've made a movie about Toran story. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's why the movie is going to be so cool. It's because it's that full circle sports story, you know, and it's funny because these boys, the ones he told him, you know, they don't want him to be a captain anymore.

That part is in the movie and we changed people's names and stuff, but they asked him about it. Is that going to be in the movie? And he said, yeah. And they're like, you know, we didn't mean it that way. You know, they're backpedaling now because they don't I want to  look like jerks on the big screen. Toran's like, well you know, it, it really affected me in everything that affected me.

It's kind of [00:19:00] been wrapped up in the movie. So. Sorry. It shouldn't have been a jerk, just like the girlfriend. who  left him. Shouldn't have done that cause it's in the movie too. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:19:09] So how was the movie going? , so what caused you guys to want to do that, to, have the movie to kind of share his story with other people?

Courtney Maronic: [00:19:16] Well, it's just funny because you know, people kept telling us like, you know, his story really should be a movie. It should be movie. And I'm like, you know, I think, I think what makes torn stories different than, you know, of course we know dozens of boys with football related, traumatic brain energies.

You know, they all don't have a movie coming out, but I think what's made Toran's story. different is what we've done since his injury. So we've taken, you know, that tragedy and we've turned it into a triumph by just everything in our power. You know, I quit my job and I started a nonprofit and Toran and I, we traveled the country and we stop at how all the houses of these kids who have been in the same situation as him. We [00:20:00] pop in, we visit the kid, we help with the families. We see what they need. We, you know, I make phone calls to get nursing care, a therapist out there, you know, a lot of them live in nowhere, Oklahoma or nowhere  Nebraska, you know, a lot of the families aren't educated enough to know, to advocate for their kid.

Right. They don't know how to, how to get the care that they need. And so we've just kind of turned something bad and we've just done. You know, I'll when, when Toran was in the coma, Dave looked at me and he said, we're not gonna blow the second chance. If he gets one, we're going to do everything in our power to help other people.

And that's what we're doing. And, you know, Our charity is small. Most of the time it's, self-funded by Dave and I, and I say, Dave and I, Dave, he's the one who works. but you know, we give everything that we can to help these other families, you know, and there's been times where we've sold our own personal belongings, like our golf cart or whatever, if we didn't have enough money to help these other families and these people aren't trying to take [00:21:00] advantage, they literally are calling and saying, you know, their kids on a ventilator and they're about to shut off our electric.

You know, and it's like, it's a $300 bill. It's not even like, it's that much or whatever, you know, but you'd be so surprised. Cause some of these boys are in vegetative states, their parents had quit their jobs to take care of 'em, you know, and these are 18, 19 year old boys. So mom can't roll them and lift them and all this stuff by themselves and they can't get nursing care and it's, it's horrible.

And so, you know, but. Toran and I get an opportunity, you know, we'll take two weeks out of the summer and we'll just get in the car and we'll just drive and we'll be in, you know, six, seven different States visiting all these families and just seeing where we can help. And with them just seeing Toran, it brings them hope.

Cause look, this kid had a horrible injury. I mean, you know, a horrible injury and he was able to come out of it. And so. For us, it's just our way of, of giving back. And when we do some of these fundraisers that we [00:22:00] do, we'll fly some of the boys who are able, we'll fly them out and, and let them be part of, of our fundraisers so they can meet the different celebrities or whatever, and just kind of feel the love too.

Alexis Newlin: [00:22:15] That's a beautiful thing that you guys have done, especially for something as hard as almost losing your son to this and to like turn around and to try to give hope to other people who had gone through a severe injury.

Courtney Maronic: [00:22:29] Yeah. When, when Toran was injured, we didn't know anybody else with a traumatic brain injury.

So we didn't know. All we could go off is what, you know, doctors would tell us. And then, you know, once they got down to the rehab center, that's when we finally got hope. You know, I think in the PICU, they, they do, they give you the worst case scenario. They don't want you. They want you to have hope, but they also want you to know the truth, you know, to prepare you.

And once we got down to rehab, everybody was just so much more hopeful. This is what we can do. And like I started [00:23:00] seeing them do things with them that were kind of waking him up and doing these things. And so I never wanted another mother to feel like I felt and feel hopeless and not know where to go next and I'll never forget the Toran was injured in June and in September, you know, it was when football started and my dad called me and he said, court, there's this kid in Hisperia.

he was on the news and I think he has an injury like Toran and he was injured in his football game last night. Well, something just came over me in that moment. And I was like, I feel like I need to reach out to his mother. And so thankful for social media, I was able to get on the news report and write down her name.

And I just searched for her on social media. And I found her and I just wrote to her on Facebook and I told her Toran story. And I said, I'm here if you need anything. I just want you to know that, you know, the brain can heal and there's hope. And that was the first kid. And then every weekend, that year in 2016, there was two boys in football season, [00:24:00] every weekend.

So in Torans group, I call them Torans class 2016. I think there's 11 of them. And then every year, since there's been, there's been around 10 or 11 that we know of, that we've reached out to. So, wow. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:24:19] It's an amazing thing that you do. And especially  to like, just offer so much hope to all these families, because like a lot of people don't know what brain injury is until it happens. It just 

Courtney Maronic: [00:24:29] throws your world for a loop.

Right. And I mean, you could do, you can do go fund me's and help people financially, but that doesn't help, that doesn't help them get through that unimaginable, you know, it just. Yeah. So, and then these boys, you know, what's, what's been great about the boys here. They have a network of other boys, you know, who know what they're going through.

They truly know what they're going through. Oh my God, you lost football and sports so did I. It sucks. You know, you lost friends, you can't [00:25:00] drive. I get it. I can't either. And they're the only ones who truly get what it's like, because here like Toran's group of boys, the 2016 kids, all but two of them have recovered, pretty good, like Toran.

And so here they are now they're all 19,20 year old adults trying to work, trying to go to school. With brain injuries. I mean, they're healed, but you know, they have fatigue, they have impulsivity, they have all these different ailments that it's going to haunt them forever that make it hard to work full time or to go to school full time or whatever.

And it's like the only ones that can truly talk to about it is each other. They get it. Cause everyone else is like, well, aren't you just thankful you're alive. You should just feel grateful. You know? And they're just like, well, yeah, we're grateful, but we're still kind of pissed that we have to go through all things.

Alexis Newlin: [00:25:46] It's life changing. Especially when, you're also a male. And for us, I think women it's different, but for males, like they're supposed to like be able to do things and not really have weaknesses. So to have this happen to them, 

[00:26:00] it's really difficult, especially in that world. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:26:05] Well, yeah. And you know, when we were in the hospital, one night Toran, said to me he was crying and this is after it was like close to when we were going home and, and he had started talking and he was crying.

And I said to her, why are you crying? Are you sad? And he said, yes. And I said, why are you sad? And he said, I'm just afraid that I'm never going to get a good enough job to support my family one day. Oh, and I thought here's my 16 year old, worried about a family he doesn't have yet that he's not going to be able to get a job to support that.

Like I was just like crying. I said, Toran? You don't have to worry about that. But you know, now that they're 20, they are worrying about that. You know, these kids like Toran, tried to go to college and he just honor student too. I can't remember what my, you know, professor talked about 15 minutes ago.

They can't learn at that level anymore. So he went and he took his personal trainers certificate and he got it. [00:27:00] Well, now he gets a job and now the pandemic hits and all the gyms are closed down. So he's just feeling defeated again. Right. Because there's not a whole lot of other stuff he can do. And so, you know, I'm still as his mom trying to find, help him find new paths.

Okay, well, this didn't work out and I was tried that, you know, but you throw a brain injury on top of stuff and it's just not as easy for them. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:27:21] And it's hard to say it's an invisible, it's an invisible disability. So it's hard for people to really see and sometimes grasp 

Courtney Maronic: [00:27:28] Exactly or a hard to be like, okay, well, I'm going to need a nap in the middle of the day.

Like what job's going to let you do that, you know? And he truly sometimes needs that. And these are all boys who are 20 years old now trying to also live on their own, which let's face it at 20, we were all broke, you know, it was hard. And then you throw a, an injury on top of it and it's just like, you know, it can really, really mess with them.

And so, you know, I still, I get texts every day from some of these boys just, you know, needing to talk or whatever. And so that's [00:28:00] just, like I said, we don't, we're not, you know, this big, huge, rich company that can give a millions of dollars, but we give them what we can. Exactly. It goes a long way. So 

Alexis Newlin: [00:28:14] How has all of this affected your faith?

Courtney Maronic: [00:28:18] My faith, hasn't really changed so much. I always have good faith. I always knew that, God already knows what's going to happen before you do, and there's a plan and you just have to trust him. But like I said, for Dave, and even for Toran. Toran was always. he had a scientific mind. And so he always questioned things because of science right. Now he completely understands. God's purpose and, and why things happen and those kinds of things. And same with Dave, it's kind of like, they just got their face handed to them. I, through all of this, you know, they always knew there was a God and they believed in God, but they didn't truly have [00:29:00] the faith.

And like I said, Dave is a changed man. And honestly, the movie, most of it is about Dave. Oh, yeah. And I didn't either until I really read through the script and I'm like, this story is about Dave and his faith and how, you know, cause they, you know, gave the big guys $600, 230 pounds. This is big, like manly, you know, coach and all this stuff.

Well in the movie too, you just see him soften up, you know, that first night in the hospital . Don't tell anybody, but my brother snuck Dave in a bottle of Jack Daniels and Dave took a Vicodin and drank a bottle of Jack Daniels to cope with what was happening. And it shows up in the movie.

And then, you know, slowly, you just see this transformation of a man who didn't have to drink away his problems. He was able to just talk about them with me and pray about them [00:30:00] and, you know, find different ways to cope with what was happening. , that's why the movie is so important. I think really for the dad's perspective.

Cause I think, you know, mom's always have to shoulder all of the emotional side of everything. And dads don't allow themselves to feel all that. And so I think it's going to be really beneficial and inspirational way for, for men to see this big guy, you know, kind of crumble into somebody who's able to, you know, trust in God and trust in his family.And it's pretty, it's going to be pretty special.

Alexis Newlin: [00:30:37] I'm excited for it. when is it? How is it in production? Is it almost done? 

Courtney Maronic: [00:30:42] Well because production is. Nothing's happening in Hollywood right now. So basically where we're at is we're, going through all the, I can't even think of the word. So going through the lawyers and doing all the paperwork type of stuff now, and then castings kind of started, You know, and [00:31:00] things like that.

So basically all the, all the work is going through with like the director and the behind the scenes, just getting stuff prepared for when things open up, we can start. So we'll see, who knows, I don't know what's going to happen with this country if we're going to have any kind of, you know, I, I, haven't been to a movie in four months.

I'm devastated. I love going to the movies. So I'm kind of glad that we didn't have this movie coming out when all this happened either. So we'll see, whenever things open back up, we should get started. I mean, the, the movie's been written, and we have our director. We have, you know, all of that behind the scenes kind of stuff already.

So I'm excited for it. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:31:40] I'm excited for you guys too. Have you ever thought of making it into a book as well?

Courtney Maronic: [00:31:45] Well, I actually started before we even thought of the movie, I had kind of started jotting stuff down. I'd really like to write a book. you know, I have a few chapters of a book, but, I think that.

When the movie comes out, it's going to give all of us an opportunity to kind of share [00:32:00] our own sides of everything. I think it's going to open up doors for torn to do more motivational speaking, because he already goes and speaks at schools with some of these other kids. And just like Brent does, when, you know, like when Toran came back to school, Brent went and spoke and it was really helpful to have that.

And so Toran decided he wanted to do that for  the other boys. And so he's done that. It's really great to kind of explain to kids. and I think that at that time I'll probably, you know, hopefully be able to have the time to finish the book and, you know, maybe just as a, thing for parents to kind of read and maybe help.

Help them, you know. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:32:40] Especially to hear the perspective of another mom, who's had a kid go and survive a traumatic brain injury. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:32:47] Yeah. And I can get, I can get a lot of the other moms to, you know, to all write in something also and share their, their stories and how, you know, how they got through it too, because everybody's kind of been different, [00:33:00] but yeah, 

Alexis Newlin: [00:33:02] I wanted you to share what was one of your most memorable, boys that you met when you and Toran and took your first trip?

Courtney Maronic: [00:33:10] Oh man. There's so many trying to think. Memorable boys. Well, you know, this isn't a football boy, but, Caleb Freeman is a kid, in Oklahoma who has a diffuse axonal injury from a crash accident and it took him a long time to recover and he still. I think he's a couple years out, but he still has balance issues, speech issues, but he's completely 100% there.

And is his head like got straight A's in school? You know, it was just kind of like the speech stuff is, is kind of slower and stuff, but this kid goes around and he speaks at churches and everything. He has the best attitude of any kid that, you know, we've met through this because he's still, you look at him  and you talk to him [00:34:00] and you instantly know something's wrong with him. You know, something's happened to him, you know, where a lot of these boys like Toran you don't, you know, but Caleb just has this attitude and his faith, his teacher, his dad's a pastor. so that's really helped, but yeah, he goes around and he just, he just speaks his testimony to everybody.

And I just think that, you know, he's never going to be. Healed completely like Toran and he may never drive again. You know, he's gonna really ask because he just graduated this year. But as he gets on into adulthood, it's going to really come to him. And that he's, you know, probably gonna need to live with his parents for a long time and things like that.

But he has a really good attitude where some of these boys are a lot better off than him and don't have such a great attitude, you know? Yeah. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:34:46] Yeah, I think I saw you post about him. He used to play basketball, right? 

Courtney Maronic: [00:34:50] Caleb? Yeah. He played basketball and ran cross country. Yeah. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:34:54] I saw there was a little movie, a short documentary.

about him, that I got to watch. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:34:58] Okay. I have a little documentary on him [00:35:00] too. it's really cool. But yeah, so we, when we went and saw him, I actually grabbed two other boys that were in the Nebraska area. And so that he was able to meet torn and two other boys at the same time. And he was still in a rehab facility at that point.

So he was super excited. He was still walking with a Walker and everything else. And so to see how far he's come and really cool for them, for the kids too. Yeah. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:35:25] So what advice or kind of hope you'd like to give to like parents who've gone through this? Like if you could give them like a tidbit to take away from this interview.

Courtney Maronic: [00:35:36] I always tell parents too, you know, it's to feel every emotion, you know, so many people are like, stay strong. You can do it be, be strong, you know? No, you don't always have to be strong. You're allowed to be pissed. You're allowed to be sad. You're allowed to be frustrated. You're allowed to feel all of those things just don't let them, you know, overrule, [00:36:00] you know, don't let the bad days overrule the good days because.

No, don't let yourself get so deep down until like a depression in the bad feelings that you can't overcome them, but allow yourself to feel them because so many people, I mean, if I have one more person telling me to say, stay strong thing in there, I was going to like go crazy and I understand why they do it.

But until you've been in that position, it's very difficult to tell somebody else to hang in there. I always tell people, feel whatever you want to feel. Just try and stay positive because you know, They need you to be positive. Say if they see you constantly. Breaking down or, you know, sad or depressed it's going to do them.

No. Good. You know, so just to try to stay positive, feel however you want to feel and just know that the brain takes time to heal. Like it is not overnight. It's a long, exhausting journey and. It even on those days where it feels like they're not making any progress, they [00:37:00] are people who aren't around them everyday.

See it, you just may not see it because you're with them every day. You know, we have a kid right now who, he got hurt in a rodeo. He fell off his horse. And, parents have unlimited funds. So they bought, one of the hyperbaric chambers for him at their house. Oh, wow. He's made huge progress ever.

Cause he goes in it every day. You know, everybody can't afford $50,000 or whatever, but they, they were able to do that. But I see huge progress in him when every couple of weeks they post a video and I'll call the dad and tell him, Oh my gosh, you know, Cole's doing so great. And he's like, really? Cause I don't see it.

But it's happening. You just don't see it. Cause you're there every day. It's just, it's just a long road. And you know, I just tell people to just be patient because it takes a long time, but you know, it really, the brain can heal it just it and everybody's recoveries are different, you know? So 

Alexis Newlin: [00:37:56] Thank you for that. What are you loving right now? 

[00:38:00] Courtney Maronic: [00:38:01] In Missouri, I'm loving that. Listen, I am a California girl. I was born and raised there. You know, you pay for the weather. It's great. But we just moved to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri because our other son, ironically, is playing. Collegiate football at Western Illinois. so we want it to be a little bit closer to him.

So we moved to Missouri and it's amazing. I feel like I'm on vacation every day. The gas is a dollar 50. Yeah. We went from Caden's truck. Yeah. Trey's truck in California  was $95 to fill up at 35 here, you know, to register your vehicle. It's around 20 bucks. So just the cost of living is, is ridiculously low.

People are all pretty much like-minded here. it's kind of nice to get to California where everything is just so shoved down your throat constantly. You know, it's just, you would never know there was a pandemic [00:39:00] going on here in Missouri, cause everyone's just kind of, you know, people wear masks if they want to, you know, it's, you know, whatever, but things are opened.

Everything's kind of, it's just been. Just, it's so amazing to just kind of get out of that bubble and come and just be here where we have a little bit less stress financially, and we're able to just kind of, you know, luckily for me, I can run the nonprofit from anywhere and Dave can work from anywhere.

So it's been good, you know, Torans in Arizona though, which is kind of a bummer, but  he's trying to, you know, be an adult and live on his own and. You know, now Trey's in Illinois. And so we're just kinda like, I have my, my friend's son here though. Cause he she's trying to move here and she, she hasn't sold her house yet, but he had to start football school.

I have him Dave and I thought we were going to be empty. Okay. So. Anyway, but yeah, loving, loving, Missouri life right now. Never thought I'd ever be in [00:40:00] Missouri, but here we are. So 

Alexis Newlin: [00:40:01] How close are you to Branson? I've been to Branson, Missouri 

Courtney Maronic: [00:40:04] an hour and a half. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:40:06] Okay. I liked it. I liked misery. It was a, we've been to on Lamberts where they  throw the rolls at, you 

Courtney Maronic: [00:40:12] know, 

Alexis Newlin: [00:40:13] Oh, you got to go there.

Don't eat anything. At all for you go, there is so much food and most of it is fried and covered in gravy, but they take these hot rolls and they throw them at you. And they're delicious rolls. There's the food is amazing, but just don't eat anything. Just go in there with an empty stomach and you probably won't eat the rest of the day.

The food is phenomenal. Lambert's, it's amazing.

Courtney Maronic: [00:40:40] Like about like Midwest and East coast. Cause we lived in Pennsylvania for many years too, is you can kind of be in a bunch of different States in one day, you know, in California, you're like lucky to drive through the whole state and one day, but yeah. So it's like, there's so many different things I want to check out, you know, and like of those are, is, is great.

Cause it's, like I said, it's like, you're on [00:41:00] vacation every day. and then, you know, we're close, like we're only seven hours from Nashville and there's just so many places I want to go visit. I do miss the mountains cause you know, I love to hike. So I'm missing the mountains a little bit, but there's other things to see in this country.

So I'm excited. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:41:15] I'm excited for you guys and it looks beautiful. Your home and where you are. It looks absolutely wonderful. 

Courtney Maronic: [00:41:20] Yeah, thank you. It is. And it's whole lot cheaper, not cheaper, so anyway, but yeah, we'll be out and we'll, hopefully we'll get to see you guys again. Yeah. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:41:32] And then my final question for you is when did you decide that you were brave?

Courtney Maronic: [00:41:38] Oh, when did I decide? I was brave. Oh, that's a good question. you know, Torans injury made me a lot braver. Obviously I had to go through things. I'd never thought I would, but. I've always been a person who likes to do hard things. I've always like tested myself, physically, you know, mentally, emotionally.

And it's funny that you, that you [00:42:00] asked that because you know, I've been trying to get on survivor for like 12 years and I've gotten called a few times. And I said to them the last time, you know, I always knew that physically I could do survivor. Like I always knew I'm athletic and I would do well and challenges and stuff.

But not until my son's injury did I know that I was mentally strong and emotionally strong. And until that happened, you only have two choices when you're, you know, when your son's laying in a coma and you're sitting there not knowing you can either crumble or you can just rise above the adversity. And it takes somebody very, very brave and very mentally strong to rise above the adversity.

And in that moment, I knew I was going to always be a different person. And now I like really try to do hard things. You know, I climbed Mount Whitney last year. I'm like, I strive to do hard things because I just know I can now. So yeah, it's sometimes it takes [00:43:00] people a little while, you know, to really see what they can get through.

And until you're tested, sometimes you don't know, but hopefully for anybody listening, don't wait until you're tested. Just go out and find yourself worth and find your bravery and find your mental toughness and just go and do hard things. Because as we learned with Torin, things can just change in the blink of an eye, the whole life that you thought you were living is changed in a second, and you have to go find your new normal, and you have to decide, am I going to be brave or am I just going to crumble?

So don't wait, just go be brave now. I love it. 

Alexis Newlin: [00:43:42] That is awesome. I am definitely writing that down for my quotes. Thank you so much, Courtney. 

Guys, thanks so much for tuning in to Courtney's episode. I absolutely love getting to sit down and just talked about, talk to her [00:44:00] about her son's experience. And what they're doing now and what I love most about her closing statement to us. Was don't wait until you're being tested. Just go out and find yourself worked and find your bravery. 

And just go and do hard things. And I just love that encouraged me so much. So thank you so much, Courtney. And I will put in the show notes, all the places you can find her  T3 charities, about the movie that's coming out. I'll put all that info there. All right. So here are my three. Asked my first ask is ratings. Ratings helps me know what you guys are loving and what content you want to hear. Also, if there's something you want me to do an interview about or someone you want me to interview. 

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