2022 HONOREE: Tyler Moss
Tyler’s Story: July 2, 2020 started as a routine day on the job for officer, Tyler Moss, a young man in the Kansas City, Missouri police force with a calling to help others. Then in one call from the dispatch, Tyler’s life changed forever. Tyler and his partner were called to the dangerous scene of a man waving a gun in public. The gunman was in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in the Kansas City metro.
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Upon arriving to the scene, the gunman started shooting at Tyler’s police car and then fled. Tyler and his partner leaped from their car and started chasing the man by foot. The gunman led the officers to a vacant industrial area where he was hiding. The officers were hunting the gunman when suddenly the gunman jumped from his hiding spot and shot at the officers. Tyler was struck by a bullet near his right eye. He fell to the ground and was unconscious. Tyler’s partner was able to successfully strike down the gunman at that moment. Additional officers arrived quickly. Tyler’s injury was so dire, they did not have time to wait on an ambulance. The officers made the courageous decision to transfer Tyler into a car and rush him to the nearest hospital. This decision saved Tyler’s life.
At the hospital, Tyler was rushed into surgery. His doctor had to open his skull to relieve the pressure. During surgery, the doctor also had to clean out bits of fractured skull in his brain and repair the skull with three plates and 12 screws. Surviving surgery was the first big “win” in Tyler’s fight for life. Tyler was put in a medically-induced coma after surgery. During sedation, the doctors would periodically wake Tyler to test for signs of recovery. The medical staff was encouraged by Tyler’s initial progress. As with most cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI), a patient will encounter setbacks during recovery. While Tyler was still under sedation, he suffered a blood clot in his lungs and developed pneumonia. These conditions kept Tyler on a ventilator with a feeding tube for a couple weeks after surgery.
Tyler’s mother, Kris Moss, shares about Tyler’s experience upon coming out of sedation. She says he was fidgety and restless at the beginning. He did not have any expression. He was able to respond to simple commands with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” His speech was clear, but he was limited in verbal use. He had vision issues in his left eye (the right side of the brain controls the left side, and he was injured on his right). He had no physical abilities at all. Despite these challenges, the hospital staff was pleased with Tyler’s outcome and believed he was on the path to a successful recovery.
Tyler was transferred to a hospital in Colorado that specializes in the rehabilitation of patients with brain injury. On a daily basis, Tyler worked rigorously in occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. When Tyler arrived, he was in a wheelchair. He had to re-teach his brain to do almost everything. Although his speech was clear, he had difficulty remembering words and organizing his thoughts. Tyler made tremendous progress during his stay in Colorado. He was discharged after two months. He left the hospital walking freely again.
Tyler continued with occupational therapy and speech therapy for one year at an outpatient rehabilitation facility in Kansas City. Returning to his old life was not easy for Tyler. He tried living in his own home, but he was stressed by the responsibilities of maintaining a house. He wasn’t able to drive on his own, which presented a challenge going back and forth to rehab. Tyler had a serious girlfriend at the time, but the relationship wasn’t the same after his injury.
Tyler made the tough but necessary decisions to temporarily move in with his parents and end the relationship with his girlfriend. Back in his childhood home with two very loving and supportive parents, Tyler was able to pull his life back together again. He grew stronger and more independent each day. Tyler returned to work on a part-time basis in January 2021. The police department was very supportive and a tremendous source of strength for Tyler. He started out with administrative duties and eventually moved onward to teaching and mentoring at the police academy.
Today the future looks bright for Tyler. He is living independently in his own home. He has a roommate who helps with small jobs in the house as needed. He has a supportive, new girlfriend. He enjoys going to the gym and being involved with his church. Tyler’s passion in life remains with the police department and helping others. He has discovered a newfound interest in public and motivational speaking. In 2020, Tyler was awarded “Police Officer of the Year” for his sacrifice and bravery on 7/2/20. All 10 officers who helped at the scene of his shooting were also awarded for their life-saving efforts. Furthermore, the police department has implemented additional training and first-aid procedures for all its staff inspired from the day of Tyler’s injury.
Through this life-changing and challenging event, Tyler has learned many valuable lessons in life. His best advice to others, do not let the small things stress you out. Don’t worry so much about the things you can’t control. Each day is a blessing… live and enjoy it to the fullest.
Follow Tyler’s journey on Instagram @tmossrecovery2020.
Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City (BIAKS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by brain injury.
MEMORIAL DAY RUN
The first Memorial Day run was held in 1988 honoring Amy Thompson, a young woman whose courage, forgiveness and will to live gave hope to all affected by brain injury.