Fruitvale, TX – It was a trip to Taco Bell and to another boy’s house that would have young Brittany Hodges fighting for her life for the six months following. But even after six months of recovering from the injuries inflicted on her body and her brain after the car crash, she would never be the same.
She was an athletic girl. She played most sports offered at her school and had high hopes for college. Many of the parents at the school have said that if they had to pick any student to receive full athletic scholarships to college, it would most certainly be Brittany.
But it was on June 11, 2007 when Brittany and some friends jumped into a car, had dinner at Taco Bell and visited a guy at his home. It was on their way back that the 18-year-old driving the car had crashed into a tree, which caused serious injury to Brittany and her friends. It turns out that the 18-year-old had been drinking and was indicted for intoxicated assault. None of the teenagers in the car were wearing seatbelts.
Both Brittany and another girl had to be flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, Texas. Being rocked so hard by the impact of the car, Brittany’s brain was shaken quite violently. This left her with severe brain damage. She also had a cracked rib and a small piece of the car had punctured her left lung. She also had a broken arm, broken vertebra, broken right collar bone, and her tailbone was broken.
It was 15-year-old Alexandra Holland who had crawled from the wreckage and managed to call 911 despite her ruptured spleen and head injury.
When Mrs. Hodges arrived at the hospital, all she could see was tubes and wires coming in and out of her daughter’s body. Brittany had to have the assistance of a machine to breathe. Surprisingly, though, there were not any scratches on her body that could be seen just by looking at her. She looked normal aside from the fact that her breathing was raspy.
Her classmates were so distraught that they all waited outside of the critical care unit, but they were unable to see her because she could hear them and that would cause her brain pressure to increase. The family was told that Brittany had a slim chance of survival because of her global brain injury. She remained in a coma, but had to later be put into a chemically induced coma to avoid going into seizures.
It was eight months after the crash occurred that the family had to move into the home of Brittany’s great-grandmother because it had wheelchair access. She needed around the clock care and was not able to communicate. Finally, she nodded her head one day and then suddenly she started giving one word answers to questions. Then one day she spoke an entire sentence to her dad.
As for her condition now, she must walk with braces on her legs, she believes everyone is a year younger than what they are, and she has an issue with recognizing some faces of her friends and family. However, she remembers things such as her favorite color and that her favorite food is pizza. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see her classmates as much as she used to.
There are 513,000 people critically injured each year due to alcohol-related crashes and Brittany had to join that figure. Sadly, she will never fully recover despite her progress and the goals her family had in mind for her will never come into light. However, her family has a new set of goals for her and they see those goals being met every single day.
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