Profile: TBI patient Robson Lindberg

Our founder Kristina never settled for problem skin - instead she took things in her own hands and started making and using her own products, arriving at healthy skin. In our series of Profiles we talk to inspiring people who also chose not to settle. This month we talked to Robson Lindberg, who sustained a brain injury in a hockey game and had to learn basic skills all over again. He had to learn to walk and write - to learn to live again. Being an invalid on disability pension and doing nothing was not an option for Robson. Instead he decided he would become the best TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) patient in the world.

YOU ARE ON A MISSION TO BECOME THE WORLD´S BEST TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY PATIENT. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
I was told that there is no sense in rehabbing me, either from a financial or time aspect. But I decided that if I’m going to do this brain damage thing that everyone is talking about, let’s do it better than anyone else in the world.

In the beginning it was very selfish, it was about getting me into a state, physical and mental, where I could actually do sports again. Because for me, sports is the same thing as life - you could basically put me 6 feet under If I don’t get to do any sports.

Very quickly it also morphed into something bigger. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a totally invisible injury and most people don’t understand what it means. I’m not speaking for all the brain damage patients in the world, but I wanted to speak up because there is a lot of injustice regarding TBI. I wanted to start talking about the human rights issues and medical issues of TBI patients, that very much are left alone.

WHAT OR WHO MOTIVATES YOU TO GO ON?
I hate motivation! I hate the word because motivation comes and goes. It´s the biggest excuse in the world. You either find time or you have an excuse. So I like to talk about drive instead. My drive is to just get my life back on some level, the same level it was on before I had my injury. That’s the primary thing. The second thing is that I want to show the world that there is financial and time value in rehabbing us TBI patients.

THE CONCEPT OF NOT SETTLING ON THINGS THAT MEAN THE WORLD TO US IS INTEGRAL FOR LAPONIE. DUE TO THE INJURY, YOU HAVE HAD TO COMPROMISE ON CERTAIN THINGS, BUT IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WOULD NEVER SETTLE FOR IN YOUR LIFE?
Yes, I’ve had to settle a ton. I think the biggest adjustment or settlement I had to make is the fact that I’m an invalid nowadays. An invalid in its core definition is that it breaks from the norm. I mean, I’m missing parts from my brain. The only thing I refuse to settle for is nothing else than my best effort. Because then I can also expect other people’s best effort. Only when you do your best you can expect that from others.

Then I also refuse to settle for information that can’t be justified. My question to my doctors, physical therapists, osteopaths, neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrics and visual rehabs is always ‘why?' and usually followed by 4-5 more why’s. Then I try to tell them that science can say what it wants but science is also reshaped daily.

HOW HAS THE INJURY CHANGED YOU AS A PERSON?
In every single aspect. There’s a good saying; TBI makes you better at the things you were good at and worse at the things you were crap at. So I’ve become more impatient and even more stubborn, but I’ve also become more understanding and more empathetic. I used to be quite a hot head but my injury has given me a lot of perspective in the matter that everything is not worth getting worked up about, and I kind of put my priorities straight. The injury has made me a better person, in essence it changed everything in me.

YOU ARE OFTEN BOOKED AS A SPEAKER IN SCHOOLS - WHAT IS YOUR KEY MESSAGE?
I still have to pinch myself that I actually get to do this. Especially in schools, that’s the most important job I'm ever gonna do. I speak about why I had to become the worlds best TBI patient and why I needed to set that goal for myself. One key message is that everything is easier if you're positive. I also tell the kids that life should suck, because when life sucks, that’s when you get to know yourself and the people around you. It's also important to remember that even if everything does not go as planned, it still turns out ok.

I do get a lot of questions from the kids, and almost every time I get asked how I cope, how I manage on a daily basis. My answer is that I don’t. I just don't. But at some point I just make the decision to keep going.

WHAT DO YOU STILL WANT TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR LIFE?
A lot! On a personal level, I’ve got this A4 of different sporting events I want to take part in, it's my bucket list. Right now I'm focusing on qualifying for the Ironman in Hawaii next year. It always humbles me that I've actually come this far.

On a humans rights and TBI patient level I want us to be treated like this is not a hoax, that TBI actually exists, that we are not questioned every time we go to the doctor and that more people actually would know what the basics of TBI are. It’s not laziness, it's something between brain dead and healthy. I want to make sure that not a single kid will have to suffer the way my peers and I have suffered because of ignorance.

I truly, deep down believe that, if you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible. If seeing the invisible seems hard, you are doing so by speaking to me - my brain damage is totally invisible.

Follow Robson´s journey on Instagram.