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SURVIVOR STORY: Shawnique Cotton

Shawnique Cotton

TBI Survivor and Miss Arizona Wheelchair

Shawnique Cotton sustained a spinal cord injury and brain injury 28 years ago when she was shot in the back at 20 years old. The spinal cord injury was immediately known, but it would take over two decades for her to learn she had a brain injury.

For 20 years she asked multiple doctors what was wrong with her, she got dizzy, experienced extreme fatigue, and was sensitive to light and sound. It wasn’t until Shawnique was working as an advocate and heard Laura, a Brain Injury Alliance staffer talk about the cognitive and somatic effects of brain injury that Shawnique began to understand the impact the devastating attack had on her brain. Today she is active as Miss Wheelchair Arizona and speaks at Brain Injury Alliance events and support groups, sharing her story. She also participates in Brain Injury Alliance Survivor Empowerment Programs whenever she can to understand her healing brain


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