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Long Road to Recovery for Young Father of Two Injured Dirt Biking

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ANKENY, Iowa -- Friends and family are rallying around a young father of two as he recovers from a brain injury.

Simple tasks like talking and standing are hard work for Ryan Simonton.

"We talk about that a lot right?" physical therapist Amy Debuhr said to Ryan. "That it's harder now than it used to be. It's frustrating sometimes isn't it?"

The 28-year-old is learning to do many things again.  "I got into a dirt bike wreck and hit my head," Simonton explained.

Simonton doesn't remember that day last April. It’s a day his fiancée Megan Johnson would like to forget, "We were at the track for a while and waiting for the ambulance to get there and him not waking up, I knew it was pretty serious."

Ryan suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was still technically in a coma a month after the accident when he came to the brain rehabilitation center On With Life. "It's hard. It's really hard. I have to have a lot of patience. It's almost 10 months since it happened, so I've learned to have more patience," Johnson said.

So has Ryan. He works with speech, physical and occupational therapists at On With Life. Occupational therapist Kelsee Hove works with him at the pool table.  "Not only are we just trying to stand and balance, but we're trying to do a task with his arm, so that makes it much more challenging," Hove said.

He’s made significant progress. "He's getting better, and almost every day he does something new, and that's what we like," Johnson said. "He's totally different, walking now, before he couldn't talk, couldn't eat."

Ryan hopes to go home with his family in March. He says he’s looking forward to playing with his two sons. Johnson is excited to have him back, "Ryan's the love of my life and my best friend, and I can't imagine life without him."

Friends and family are helping Ryan with medical and living expenses. They're hosting a Wheelie Out Ryan auction plus benefit dinner. It's Sunday, February 15 at the Windsor Heights Community Center. Auction items include Honda motorcycles, helmets, leather jacket and a wood pellet meat smoker. The event starts at noon. Click here for more information from the group’s Facebook Page.

You can send donations to Wheelie Out Ryan c/o Jacki Bolen, PO Box 92, Montezuma, IA 50171. Checks can be made payable to Megan Johnson. Or, click here to donate through the Go Fund Me Page.


  • bjertbjaeger

    Then you have the guy up in Fort Dodge who was hit by a dirtbike while saving a child from being hit by the same bike. Maybe you could do a follow up on that story too? They’re quite an amazing family as well.

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