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State Trooper back on patrol after suffering a traumatic brain injury

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DECORAH, Iowa (KWWL) - To be an Iowa State Trooper requires focus, decision making, and a strong mentality. However, for one State Trooper, those abilities were put to the test after suffering a traumatic injury.

Jared Rude is a father, a son, and a proud State Trooper. Rude said the job is his passion.

"I knew at an age early age that I wanted to do this job," Rude said, "I just love what I'm able to do."

Living in Decorah with his wife and two daughters, Rude lived the life he always wanted. Until last year, when a ceiling project changed his life forever.

"I ended up falling off of the scaffolding, and at some point, striking my head on my fall all the way to the ground," Rude said.

Seeing the seriousness of his injuries, emergency responders immediately called in the helicopter, flying him to Gunderson Lutheran Hospital for medical treatment.

After five days in a coma, Rude was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

"There was a little bit of a hole inside of my skull, that was allowing blood to flow in and out of my brain," Rude said.

From there, he and his family decided to go to Chicago's Shirley Ryan Hospital for the duration of his recovery. Rude said he remembers the simplest tasks being impossible.

"I wouldn't speak, I wasn't walking," Rude said, "it was very apparent very early on, we have a lot of work to do."

However, rather than feeling frustrated, he was determined. For months, Rude said he rehabbed 24 hours a week.

"I'd be home Friday Saturday, drive Sunday night," Rude said, "then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I would be at the rehab center."

Even when the pandemic hit, Rude continued therapy, virtually, for 15 hours a week. Sure enough, Jared worked his way back to walking, talking, and remembering. He told KWWL his biggest weapon was his mentality.

"I gave 100% effort on everything. I tried very hard at all times to focus on the positivity," Rude said.

Now, after a year of intense therapy, Jared is home with his family and has worked his way back to full-time patrol.

"It took a lot of work, so I'm proud of what I've done and I'm proud of the support I got to get myself here."

Rude credits the support of his medical team and family for getting him to where he is today. Rude hopes his story can inspire other traumatic brain injury patients, but also anyone who is facing adversity right now.

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Alaina Kwan

Morning Reporter

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