A New Meaning of Father's Day
Merlyn Frank and his son, Bryson, love motorcycles, racing, and just about anything that roars on two wheels. But they have something else in common that’s rare among sons and fathers. Merlyn endured a traumatic brain injury in 2008 after falling from a roof while working. Nearly 10 years later, Bryson’s motorcycle spun out on a low sided freeway exit, causing a brain injury - the second in the Frank family. Both were treated at Centre for Neuro Skills’ Bakersfield facility and both recovered successfully.
Given their rehabilitation journey, Father’s Day takes on a new meaning for Merlyn and Bryson. Each faced death, and either one could have spent June 16 in bittersweet remembrance of their relationship. Not only did they survive, they’re thriving in a new life of independence. Going to races and vintage motorcycle shows are cool events that underscore their shared gift of recovery.
Bryson has had a passion for motorcycles as long as he can remember. But his world turned upside down two years ago when he was on his way to college classes. “I was going around a bend when my bike slid out from under me,” he recalled. The accident left Bryson with two fractured vertebrae, damage to his right hand, lung lacerations, and a brain injury.
Merlyn’s accident was just as harrowing. He was on a rooftop repairing an air conditioning unit when he fell 20 feet onto a concrete walkway. Dazed and terrified, he woke up in a hospital not knowing where he was or what happened. He was admitted into CNS, where he learned to walk, speak, work, and function again.
Jenny Frank, Bryson’s mom and Merlyn’s former spouse, knew CNS was the place for Bryson because Merlyn had been a patient. “I knew how much CNS helped Merlyn, and it was my mission to get Bryson the best help possible,” she said.
Bryson came to CNS with low reading scores, yet today he’s a straight A student and calculus tutor whose dream is to become a video game designer.
Understanding the challenges of injury and struggles of rehabilitation, both men have grown closer as a result of their odyssey. For them, Father’s Day is a milestone. Bryson is grateful to have “Pop” by his side, and Merlyn has a best friend, a son, and a guy who understands the roar of a Triumph.