WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)- They call him the “Miracle Man.” Wichita Police Officer, Brian Arterburn, not only survived a traumatic brain injury last February when he was run over, but he’s recovering much faster than expected.
Brian and his wife, Claudale, are eager to show the progress he’s made and invited KSN’s Stephanie Bergmann to their home.
“So Brian, do you want to tell them how many times you’ve used your wheelchair since we’ve been home?” said Claudale Arterburn.
“Zero,” said Brian.
Claudale nodded. “Not one time.”
Brian Arterburn is also getting his memory back. For months, he didn’t understand what had happened to him or why he was hospitalized so far from home.
“Yea, I don’t think I can remember all of it, but I remember a lot of it. I’ve seen the video now a few times,” said Brian. Now, Brian remembers February 7, 2017, when a suspect in a stolen vehicle ran over him as he laid stop sticks in the street.
When asked if it bothered him to think about that day, he quickly answered. “No, it doesn’t. It makes me think I did as good as I could, and hopefully, I’m not ruined. I can continue getting better.”
“It makes me think I did as good as I could, and hopefully, I’m not ruined. I can continue getting better.” – Brian Arterburn
Just since last fall when KSN visited the Houston rehab hospital where Brian was living, he has made dramatic progress.
In October, he still needed a wheelchair or help walking, and his medication often made him confused and sluggish.
Now that Brian is back home in Wichita with his wife and kids, he is back on his own two feet, active and energetic. He can climb stairs by himself, but uses the handrail for balance.
Brian is also working on his fine motor skills and regaining use of his left arm.
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Home health care aide, Kylie Seachris, steps in when needed.
“I kinda just hang out with him, help him whenever he needs it,” said Seachris. “He used to need a lot more help than he does now.”
“I made great tacos last night,” said Brian excitedly. “I am a very good cook. I really am!”
Brian also wants to get back to playing paintball with friends and running races with his wife. He even dreams of being back on the police force.
“I would love to work with my friend, Janette,” said Brian.
Janette Griggs was Brian Arterburn’s partner at Patrol South and witnessed the attack that nearly killed him last year.
As Brian continues to recover, the Arterburns talk about his future.
“I see him hopefully spending time, volunteering at the academy and training the new recruits,” said Claudale.
Another option for Brian is giving motivational speeches at schools someday or peer counseling other injured officers.
Whatever his role, Brian is motivated by the encouragement from other cops and Kansans.
“Positivity, and everyone being there to support him,” said Seachris.
The Arterburns estimate Brian has received about 3,000 cards and letters from people all over the country, wishing him well.
By April, Claudale hopes Brian is independent enough for her to go back to her job at Patrol South. The couple is also planning to take part in the Officer Down 5-K in May.
Their future, which seemed bleak at one time, now looks promising.