We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Christmas Presents

BRAINS BEHIND BARS

A STARTLING NUMBER OF CONVICTS HAVE A HISTORY OF TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY— BUT NEITHER THEY, NOR THEIR DOCTORS NOR LAW ENFORCEMENT KNOWS IT

(@ERIKAHAYASAKI)

HEADS UP: Mickelson, who tries to explain his many convictions with “maybe I’m stupid,” learned while locked up in Denver that his brain has suffered from many blunt traumas.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BENJAMIN RASMUSSEN

APALE-PINK, hairless scar runs across the back of 35-year-old Bryce Mickelson’s buzz-shaved head, an inch-long reminder of just one of the many brain injuries he’s had in his life. At 3, he ran in front of a car and woke up from a coma in the hospital. At 7, a kid threw a rock at his face, ripping it open. At 12, he crashed his bike, his helmetless skull slamming into concrete. Mickelson’s noggin has been banged, bruised and split open so many times he can’t remember every injury. But he never considered the long-term impact of them until he ended up in jail.

Mickelson has served time for theft, domestic violence, distributing narcotics and possession of a weapon and drugs. His most recent stint inside of the Denver County Jail came after a trespassing charge. “Hey, maybe I’m just stupid,” says Mickelson, sitting in a courtyard outside of his cell, his blue eyes droopy and his gray inmate’s uniform shapelessly draped like nurse’s scrubs over his 6-foot-2-inch frame. He’s seems to have always had trouble with learning, memory, anxiety and impulsivity. He could have been born this way—or, he admits, it could be due to drugs, which he started using at the age of 8. He’s tried everything from marijuana to heroin, to LSD and cocaine. Or, he says, it “could be from a brain injury.”

For the first time in his life, Mickelson has been learning about the brain and the many bad things that happen when it’s hit over and over again. It all started when a graduate student working under Kim Gorgens, a neuropsychologist and clinical associate professor at the University of Denver, visited him in jail last December. The student interviewed Mickelson about his head injury history and put him through several hours of oral and computer-based tests. Two weeks later, Mickelson received a copy of his neuropsychological report, which showed evidence of repeated blunt force brain trauma. The report outlined his cognitive and behavioral challenges and suggested strategies that could help him cope.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Newsweek International - 19th August 2016
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - 19th August 2016
$4.99
Or 499 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 0.67 per issue
SAVE
87%
$33.99
Or 3399 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 0.94 per issue
SAVE
80%
$3.99
Or 399 points

View Issues

About Newsweek International

The New American Cop... Smarter, More Diverse, Better Equipped... And Scared
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points