Iowa man hopes traumatic brain injury story inspires others - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa man hopes traumatic brain injury story inspires others

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An eastern Iowa man who was found barely alive, unconscious and badly hurt in an Iowa City alley is now using his story to inspire others.

That man is Ryan Jansa, of Shueyville. In May of 2016, Jansa was found in an alley, badly injured after a night out with friends. He had part of his brain removed and he couldn't walk or talk.

Since then, he's made a stunning recovery.  One that allows him to now share his story.

"I hope that people will realize that their life isn't over because something bad happened in it, and that they can constantly keep progressing and moving forward in their life," Jansa said.

It was an accident that nearly killed him but Jansa says it ultimately saved his life.

"I was constantly getting in trouble with alcohol and using drugs and doing drugs," Jansa said.

In a packed St. Wenceslaus Church on a Thursday night in Cedar Rapids, he told the crowd that, in five years, he spent time at five different county jails, some more than once. He was arrested for a DUI twice.

"First, I thought, 'why me?' and 'why did this have to happen to me?' Then later on, I thought, 'why not me? What was I doing in my life that was so great?'" Jansa said.

Since his accident, Jansa has been sober. He jokes that he can't afford to lose more brain cells than he already has.

Jansa still has a road to recovery ahead of him to travel. On Monday, he'll begin out-patient therapy but, he says, he's found healing through God.

"Besides my family, it has been the other constant and I am always able to go to God in times of need," he said.

Jansa said he didn't always have a positive outlook. He said he contemplated suicide, but now he's finding joy in making progress.

"I wasn't able to talk and now I can talk. I wasn't able to walk and now I can walk. Next progress from one goal to the next," he said.

That next goal of his is to one day be able to drive again.

Iowa City police said they have since suspended the investigation into what happened to Jansa, due to lack of evidence and witnesses in the case. Jansa said he doesn't care to know what happened that night because, ultimately, it doesn't matter.

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