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Overcoming Brain Injury

Rebecca MornRebecca Morn

When Rebecca Morn, 42, walked across the Ocean Center stage it was much more than an academic milestone. 

For the first-generation college student, it is a triumph of her spirit and determination to overcome adversity, a new beginning and a realization of her dream to earn a degree that started when she first enrolled at Daytona State more than a decade ago. 

Life was good back then. She had a good job as a hairstylist, a young daughter and lots to look forward to. But in 2002, things suddenly changed when a motorcycle accident left her with a traumatic brain injury and severe spinal damage. She spent days in a coma and years in rehabilitation. 


“I didn’t know how badly I was hurt until I tried to come back to school,” she said. “I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t remember things, couldn’t follow simple instructions. So, I just stopped.” 

Because of her back injury, she could no longer stand long enough to continue her cosmetology work. Her doctors advised her to apply for Social Security Disability. 

What followed were years of sadness and self-doubt. But, seeing soldiers coming back from war strengthened her resolve. “I saw that so many were coming back with PTSD,” she said. “They couldn’t hold jobs or keep their relationships. So many were having suicidal thoughts. I felt that with all I’ve been through, maybe I can help, so I decided to come back to school and try again.” 

She returned to DSC in 2010 and, with the help of the college’s TriO program, she has thrived. The federally funded program serves up to 160 students a year, helping them succeed in college through a comprehensive intervention process that includes tutoring, mentoring, advising and helping students focus on their educational plans and strategies.

Morn earned her AA degree with high honors and plans to transfer to the University of Central Florida’s Daytona Beach Campus to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She hopes also to work at the local veterans center as an intern while in school.

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{May 14, 2014}

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Last updated: 2014-09-11T19:05:59.482Z