“Determined” is a good word to use when describing Mark Steinhubl. “Amazing” and “inspirational” are others. If you were less charitable, you might call him impatient. He has used that word for himself on occasion.
At 18 years of age, the Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, rugby-playing senior had the next few years of his life planned. He’d graduate in May and enroll in Texas A&M University. Those plans ran into a hitch: On January 4, 2009, Mark suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a gunshot incident. The bullet entered above his right eye. Taken to Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital, he underwent four major surgeries and a number of other procedures.
It was a tough month. A tracheotomy forced Mark to communicate by writing on a white board. He could not use his left side; he lost his right eye and could not hear with his right ear.
“At first, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to walk. But I was determined to get my life back,” Mark says.
His mother says, “Ben Taub is a wonderful hospital. It was far and away the best place for Mark. The care was excellent; we have nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses.”
In spite of losing a lot of school that semester, he walked across the stage and graduated with his high school class in early May 2009. At the end of the summer, he was off to A&M. Today, the Aggie junior is working toward his goal — a degree in civil engineering.
Mark, now 22, wears a bone-anchored hearing aid that has restored his hearing on the right side. He has learned to live with the lack of depth perception. He will soon have another major surgery in hopes of alleviating lingering focal seizures.
“This has changed my perception. People and things have a different importance now. My family was always close, but we’re even closer now. I’ve also learned that I can run from the past or learn from it.
“I remember very little about my time at Ben Taub, but I know the people there work miracles. They were there for me, my family and my friends.”