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Phil Haydon plans to circumnavigate the Earth, hoping to inspire and educate those with the disorder

By Courtney Hollands | TuftsNow
Photo by Alonso Nichols / Tufts University

06/08/2018 – Boston, Mass. – Phillip Haydon, Co-Founder and President of GliaCure, Inc; Professor and Chair of Neuroscience at the Tufts University School of Medicine, sails on his boat in Boston Harbor on June 8, 2018. Professor Haydon will sail around the globe in 2021 to raise awareness and fundraise for epilepsy research. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Phil Haydon was just fifteen years old in 1972 when he suffered a severe brain injury while biking home on the last day of the school year—a brick hurled by a classmate struck Haydon in the forehead, knocking him across the street.

Bleeding heavily, Haydon pedaled back to school and was whisked away in an ambulance to the hospital, where he started having seizures within the hour. Doctors removed part of his fractured skull, eventually replacing it with a metal plate. Haydon spent the entire summer recuperating, and it took another year to get the post-traumatic epilepsy under control with medication.

“High school was a struggle after that,” Haydon remembered recently in his office at the School of Medicine, where he is the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor of Neuroscience and chair of the neuroscience department. “I had trouble concentrating. My schoolwork was not the best.”

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