Having recently sold his old Volvo, Braveyoung multi-instrumentalist Isaac Jones started riding a motorized dirt bike to his job at Coava Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Since he started work at 5:30 a.m., the streets were usually empty, and the drive was uneventful. Then, on September 22, 2015, as the musician cruised down a narrow street, a van ran a stop sign and Jones plowed into the side of the vehicle.
“I flew off the bike and went through the driver’s side window,” says Jones. “My motorcycle was completely bent into the shape of a ‘V.’ I had an old helmet on, but I hit really hard on the right front side of my head. But I was unconscious. I don’t remember a thing.”
Paramedics medevaced Jones to the hospital, and doctors diagnosed him with a hemorrhaging frontal lobe brain injury. Jones’ twin brother and bandmate Zac was in New York and couldn’t be reached, and neither could his parents. So doctors reached out to Jones’ partner to make a critical life and death decision.
“They said, ‘We have to take out the right hemisphere of his skull to mitigate a subdermal hematoma and we have to do it right now or he will die,” says Jones. “But we need permission from someone who knows him.”
Consent was given, and Jones went into surgery for 11 hours. To equalize the pressure in his brain, doctors removed the right half of his skull and placed it in a freezer, where it remained for five weeks. Two days after the surgery, Jones woke up surrounded by his parents and his older brother.