AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany
Washington State University instructor David Warner is seen in Spokane, Washington on June 27, 2013. Warner was assaulted on March 30, 2013, in Pullman, Washington. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and has trouble speaking and getting around.

One Year Later: Assaulted Native Professor Continues Healing and Hoping

Alysa Landry

David Warner was not expected to survive.

The culture, gender and race studies professor at Washington State University suffered a traumatic brain injury March 30, 2013, when he was assaulted outside a bar near the Pullman, Washington, campus. Warner, 42, doesn’t remember trying to prevent a verbal confrontation close to 2 a.m. that day or being tackled to the ground and striking his head against the asphalt.

Warner, whose heritage comes from Canada’s First Nations, was transported by helicopter from Pullman to Spokane, a distance of about 75 miles. Surgeons discovered that Warner’s skull had cracked into three pieces and his brain was swelling. They removed a four-by-six-inch piece of his skull to manage the pressure.

“My skull shattered on impact,” Warner said during a phone interview this month. “They didn’t expect me to survive.”

RELATED: Assaulted Native Professor Awake After More Than a Week in ICU

Warner doesn’t remember the two weeks he was in critical condition at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, or the following two weeks at a separate facility for serious head trauma. He remembers waking up at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute and struggling to put words together.

“I lost about a month and a half,” he said. “My vocabulary was reduced to five words. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t come up with words except the five that were in my vocabulary.”


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
My best wishes to Mr. Warner. I hope you recover fully and put this dark shadow behind you.

abuela's picture
Submitted by abuela on
David Warner, it doesn't matter if your brain remembers what you read, just read and read; it helps you regain your memory, your thought processes. Also I have discovered there are exercises that help the brain retrain or change itself. Cross body stretches and movements. There has been enormous progress in working out movements. Just walking helps. Adele Reiswig