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Mixed martial arts fighter has long road to recover from traumatic brain injury

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Mixed martial arts fighter has long road to recover from traumatic brain injury
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

By Vicki Gerdes / DL Newspapers


It’s been three months to the day since mixed martial arts champion Dan “The King” Kiser suffered a traumatic brain injury during a fight at Detroit Lakes’ Kent Freeman Arena on May 24.

Since then, Kiser has been fighting a battle of a very different sort: The struggle to regain full use of his faculties.

“Dan is progressing well,” says ‘The King’s’ father, Dan Kiser Sr. “But he still has a lot of rehab in front of him. Even if he’s up walking on his own, with assistance, he still has a long road ahead.”

Today, Dan’s regimen consists of twice-daily sessions of occupational, speech and physical therapy, four days a week.

“He has good days, he has bad days,” says Kiser Sr. “If he works too hard or does too much one day, he’ll be sluggish the next.

“If you see him walking, you’d think he’s doing really well, but it’s the mental part that’s going to take a long time to repair itself.”

In fact, it can take up to a year to determine how much of the damage Dan suffered during the fight will be permanent.

“It takes time and rest,” said Dan’s father. “He can’t get overstimulated. He’s not allowed on his phone a lot, or on Facebook.

“He understands that he has a short-term memory problem, and multi-tasking is an issue.”

For the time being, Dan is living with his parents full-time at their home in Fargo. As yet, he has been unable to return to work.

“He will have 24-hour care until the doctors tell us it’s no longer necessary,” says Dan’s father. “It’s something we are dealing with.”

One thing that the Kiser family is very appreciative of is the support that they have been receiving — support such as the benefit set for Friday, Sept. 5 at the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn.

Event organizer Chris Holt says the event will include a silent auction and spaghetti feed, and will run from 6 to 9 p.m.

“Dan has not only been a great fighter that many people have looked up to, he has been an amazing friend, teammate and mentor in the MMA community,” says a promotional flyer for the event. “We want to do everything we can to help Dan and his family while he is recovering and away from work.”

“We appreciate the support that Chris and the Detroit Lakes community are showing for Daniel through this benefit,” said Kiser Sr., adding, “As many family members as are available will be there.”

In addition to the benefit, a fundraising page for the Kiser family has also been set up online at The page also includes updates on Kiser’s condition, as well as how much money has been raised thus far.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 15 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454