Former Softball Player Creates Creative Anthology Devoted to Brain Injuries


Former Softball Player Creates Creative Anthology Devoted to Brain Injuries

Brain injury is a quiet monster that sneaks up on people and steals so much. My daughter, Savannah, suffered a brain injury that finally claimed her life almost 16 years later. Veterans returning from war may look fine on the outside, but are suffering the hidden effects of brain injury from proximity to an explosion or head trauma.

College softball player Victoria Griffin suffered a brain injury and now wants to publish an anthology about brain injury.
Victoria Griffin
In January of this year, author and Campbell University softball player Victoria Griffin sustained a severe concussion that would last four months. The injury stripped her of basic abilities – reading, walking, speaking—and took her final season of college softball. Now, she is using the experience to fuel the creation of Flooded, a literary anthology of fiction and creative nonfiction devoted to concussions and brain injuries. In order to fund the project, she is launching a Kickstarter campaign that is going on right now.The bulk of funding will go toward contributor payments, editing, and design. She hopes the anthology will provide an outlet for victims of brain injuries to express the emotional realities so often glazed over in favor of statistics and facts.

Flooded won't merely showcase memoirs or personal stories—though they will undoubtedly play a role. Brain injuries take many forms and are often difficult to describe. That’s why the anthology will use multiple genres to explore the experience of brain injuries and concussions, ultimately unifying to create an expansive, truthful representation of  brain injuries.

After being struck in the head by a ball in practice, Griffin says, "My trainer assured me the symptoms would be gone within two weeks, after which the doctor assured me they would be gone within three. After four months, two ER visits, a drug overdose (caused by a neurologist who was supposed to help me), and a desperate struggle to graduate without being able to read or perform basic, everyday functions, I finally recovered." The injury left scars so deep, they are difficult to describe—which is what prompted her to write about the experience.

"When I finally gained enough strength to walk around the apartment," Griffin says, "I would get stuck on the stairs and have to call for help. A sound as small as footsteps would send me into sensory overload attacks—which I came to call flooding—during which I would involuntarily curl into a ball and be unable to move, speak, or breathe. I felt like I was drowning. And each attack lasted hours."

Griffin knows that stories of brain injury don't always turn out well. "I was lucky. I walked away from my brain injury with no permanent damage." She hopes that the anthology may help others struggling with brain injury or caring for someone who has one.

She says that the concussion changed her life. It helped her discover  a new passion—freelance editing. But more importantly, it impacted her worldview. "I now have a much deeper understanding of the sorts of challenges some people face every single day—those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and learning disorders. I also have an incredibly deep-rooted appreciation for the people in my life. I saw true cruelty, to a degree I didn’t believe people to be capable of, not from strangers but from people who had been in my life for years. But I also saw extreme compassion and sacrifice. I saw a few friends and family members put their lives on hold to make sure I made it through."

She expects to accept submissions for the anthology from November 15 to February 28.  Absolutely anyone can submit. There is no requirement to have experienced, or even seen, a brain injury. If a writer takes the time to research brain injuries and concussion in order to write a piece that accurately represents the experience, we have already educated one person on the realities of brain injuries.

Her Kickstarter campaign runs through November 10th.


Support Flooded: A Creative Anthology of Brain Injuries
Link to Kickstarter campaign: http://kck.st/2e30Tsu

(Story adapted from press release and Q & A from Victoria Griffin.)


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