Mark Kelly speaks at brain injury conference in Carlsbad - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mark Kelly speaks at brain injury conference in Carlsbad

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CARLSBAD (CBS 8) - It has been a little more than two years since Mark Kelly's wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was nearly assassinated after a gunman shot her in the head.

Since then, Giffords has made a remarkable recovery and become an inspiration for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

Capt. Kelly was in Carlsbad Saturday talking about the progress his wife has made while sending his own message about TBI.

He talked to News 8 about facing the toughest challenge of his life, when a gunman almost took his wife's life. Now he is trying to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries.

He recalls January 8th 2011, when his wife was shot in the head in Tucson and survived. More than two years later, Giffords is still in constant therapy.

Capt. Kelly is now a passionate advocate for brain injury rehabilitation.

He was the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Brain Injury Rehabilitation Conference hosted by Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas.

Capt. Kelly was a combat pilot and an astronaut on three space missions before his wife was shot.

After Giffords was shot, he was ready to give up his dream of being the commander of the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavor, but she recovered faster than expected because she received the right treatments.

Michael Lobatez, a Medical Director of the Scripps Rehab and Brain Injury Program, say Kelly's message was clear.

"The message was one of hope, perseverance, determination and drive and never ever give up," he said.

For Kelly, accomplishing his mission while maintaining the love and devotion to family, is the foundation of true success.

What many do not realize is an estimated 1.7 million people in the U.S. sustain TBI'S like concussions, military injuries, and strokes to name a few. Nearly 800,000 get brain injuries from non-traumatic causes each year.

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