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Two years ago, Randy and Sharon Budd’s lives were changed by a flying rock and a traumatic brain injury. Now, Randy, a TBI caregiver, has recently committed suicide. His parting words pressed for changes that would prevent the kind of injury that some say robbed him of his life, as well as his wife.
On Thursday, July 10, 2014, Sharon and Randy Budd were on a road trip to New York City. But that day, the poor choices of a number of local teens changed her life, and the life of her husband, forever.
The teens threw an 8 inch thick rock off an overpass over a Pennsylvania highway. The rock exploded through the Budds’ windshield and struck Sharon in the head. She lost an eye and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. A year into her recovery, she was still undergoing operations to repair the damage done to her skull and face.
The young men responsible were charged and convicted of crimes related to the incident. But no criminal punishment could restore the lives Sharon and Randy had lost.
Sharon’s injuries caused her to need a 24/7 TBI caregiver. She needs help with daily tasks like showering and dressing herself. All of those duties fell to Randy. And after two years, it appears Randy had had all he could take. He took his own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday, August 6, 2016.
Randy Budd had become an advocate for highway safety. One of his last messages was to Pennsylvania State Senator Gene Yaw, urging him to pass legislation requiring fencing on highway overpasses. He also texted many family members and called his brother before completing the act.
Union County District Attorney D. Peter Johnson, who was assigned to the criminal case two years ago, believes that Randy was a victim of those crimes as well. He told PennLive:
“Randy Budd did not die from a gunshot,” said an emotional Johnson. “He died when those kids threw a rock through his windshield.”
Being a TBI caregiver is a taxing job. Tending to the needs of a brain injury survivor requires dedication and tenacity that can often wear a person down. To be there for a loved one throughout the long road to recovery, a TBI caregiver needs to be honest about his or her own needs too.
Caregivers should be sure to keep up on their own medical exams, and seek out counseling and TBI support groups to help them deal with the strain. It is absolutely crucial that they be given access to respite care by competent professionals. This will allow TBI caregivers to take the time they need to take care of themselves and prevent more from choosing the way of Randy Budd.
David Christensen is a brain injury expert at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. If you have suffered a TBI as the result of an auto accident, contact Christensen Law today to schedule a free consultation.