Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning

Case Study: The Story of Bridgid Ruden “Overcoming a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury”

May 12, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, EPISODE #130 with a fascinating case study/story of Bridgid Ruden[i], a traumatic brain injury survivor, whose life changed on May 24, 2008 with a bicycle accident that would begin her new life inspiring her book Discovering Your Life’s Purpose: From Tragedy to Triumph[ii], as she now inspires people nationally and internationally with her story of resilience.

To watch the interview on YouTube click here.

To see the images in the show notes if you are listening on iTunes click here.

Welcome back, I'm Andrea Samadi, a former educator who has been fascinated with understanding the science behind high performance strategies in schools, sports, and the workplace for the past 20 years. If you have been listening to our podcast, you will know that we’ve uncovered that if we want to improve our social and emotional skills, and experience success in our work and personal lives, it all begins with an understanding of our brain.

Before I give the backstory of Bridgid, and why I think her story is important to share, I want to read you a testimonial from the doctor who saw her first CT scan after her bike accident in 2008.

“Bridgid, you are a miracle. I remember as your physician telling you these words as I reviewed your brain CT scan from your initial head injury. I believe that you are unique in your positive approach to your recovery, your dedication to sharing your experience, and your commitment to helping and motivating others to overcome their own life obstacles and adversity. I deeply and sincerely admire your efforts and your positive attitude in dealing with a truly difficult and challenging personal experience so that they can benefit from your experience, wisdom, and wit. Although we sometimes are witness to events that are miraculous, sometime the real miracles are people like you.” -Dr. Andrew G. Lee, MD

In this episode, you will learn:

✔︎How a Traumatic Brain Injury can happen (statistics) and Bridgid Ruden’s Story.

✔︎ Who was Bridgid Ruden before the accident and how she used pure determination to re-build her brain and life after her accident on May 24, 2008.

✔︎ What her CT brain scans showed after the injury that led to 4 surgeries.

✔︎How Bridgid rebuilt her brain and life with exercise, nutrition, art, music therapy and laughter.

I came to meet Brigid Ruden when she reached out to me through our website[iii] to share her story, and at the time her email came in, I was in the middle of writing the review of Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, The End of Mental Illness on EPISODE #128 where we spoke about Traumatic Brain Injury as one of the brain risk factors of head trauma that Dr. Amen considers to be “the silent epidemic that underlies mental illness.” When I saw her email, I was reading it quickly, and saw the following words-severe traumatic brain injury survivor, healing, education, miracles, author, speaker and reiki therapist, and that’s all I needed to see. It’s not often that you see severe traumatic brain injury survivor and author in the same paragraph. Writing a book has to be the most daunting task, requiring brain focus, and here was someone who had survived a severe brain injury with a book about it. I was amazed, curious to learn more and emailed her back immediately.

The rest is history. I can’t wait for you to meet this woman whose determination to heal herself has opened her to a whole new life’s purpose.

Just to review, we did cover the statistics behind head trauma on episode #128 with a review of Dr. Daniel Amen’s “The End of Mental Illness” book where he called Head Trauma: “The silent epidemic that underlies many mental illnesses.”

(Dr. Amen). According to the CDC, “more than 2 million new head injuries occur in the US every year” ranging from falls, to motor vehicle collisions, to sports injuries and Dr. Amen treats many of these injuries at his clinics across the country, saying that his database of “tens of thousands of patients, 40% had a significant brain injury before they came to see us.”[iv]


Here’s Brigid Ruden!

Welcome Brigid. Thank you so much for reaching out to me with your story. It was timely and I’m so glad to have this opportunity to speak with you directly.

Q1: Brigid, I have just completed an episode[v] where I reviewed Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, The End of Mental Illness and one of the brain risk factors he outlines is Head Trauma that he describes as “The silent epidemic that underlies many mental illnesses.” Can you share the statistics that you’ve learned about the leading causes of Traumatic Brain Injury and why do you think the police officer that found you after your fall thought you had just a mild concussion?

Q2: To help others who might have someone in their life recovering from a TBI, can you take us through how serious your fall was from your first CT Scans, to your 2nd CT Scans, to your 4th surgery, and what happened to you after this?





Q3: Your story is a true story of resilience. Can you explain how you re-built your brain using the power of exercise, the value of nutrition, art and music therapy and reiki?

Q4: What helped to motivate you along your path to healing?

Q5: I know that documenting your life story in your book was not easy. I’m in the beginning stages of my third book and it requires more brain power than I’ve got on most days. How did you write your book while still healing to help others to develop and redefine themselves?

Q6: What vision do you have with your story? How do you want to help others who might be stuck in the recovery process?

Brigid, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to share your story. For those who want to learn more about you, they can go to your website at  or find your book Discovering My Life’s Purpose on Amazon.

Brigid, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to share your story. For those who want to learn more about you, they can go to your website at and can you explain the services that you offer there? 


All slides in the YouTube interview were from I Believe in the Power of Believing Movie Published on YouTube November 2, 2020

Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #88 with Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, M.D. on Demystifying the Human Brain “Neurotheology, Spect Scans, and the Aging Brain”



[ii] Discovering My Life’s Purpose: From Tragedy to Triumph by Brigid Ruden Published September 19, 2016


[iv] The End of Mental Illness: How Neuroscience is Transforming Psychiatry and Helping Prevent or Reverse Mood and Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Addictions, PTSD, Psychosis, Personality Disorders and More by Dr. Daniel Amen  March 3, 2020 Location 4574

[v] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning EPISODE #128 with a review of Dr. Daniel Amen’s “The End of Mental Illness: Book

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