82-year-old woman prepares for Cleveland Marathon while recovering from brain injury

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - This year's Cleveland Marathon will be even more emotional than usual for one local family.

Jennifer Jones says she will participate in the race with her 82-year-old mother, Constance Mattozzi. It will be the first time they've been in the race since Mattozzi's traumatic brain accident two years ago.

Jones says in January of 2016, her mother fell down the stairs in her garage.

"Hit her head on my car, and then hit her head on the garage floor," says Jones.

That injury led to a condition called aphasia. Mattozzi knows what she wants to say, but because the part of her brain that controls language was damaged, she sometimes struggles to find the words to verbalize her thoughts.

"There are words that we don't remember," said Mattozzi. "In a week or so, they may come back, and that's okay."

Mattozzi has stayed busy as she continues her recovery. She goes on trips with her daughter, participates in art classes, dresses up for Halloween, and attends dinner parties. She goes to the gym every day. One thing she hasn't done since the accident is the Cleveland Marathon. That's about to change.

Jones says she and her mom participated in the race about five years ago.

"We were walking, and she fell in a pothole and fractured her pelvis, but amazingly, she finished the race."

A few weeks ago, she says, she and her mother were watching TV.

"Advertisement came on for the Cleveland Marathon, and she said, 'We've done that before', and I said, 'Yeah, it was like five years ago.' She said, 'I fell,' and I said, 'Yeah, you did.' She says, 'Well, we should do it again.'"

On May 20, they will. A group of friends will join them, and they've even made special buttons for the occasion. On them is Connie's picture, along with the words "Connie's Crusaders," and "TBI Survivor."

Mattozzi says, by participating again, she wants to motivate others.

"It's all doing that which gives you something to do, which helps other people."

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