A traumatic brain injury is a devastating blow, which can lead to hours of therapy and a forever altered life if the affected individual is able to survive. But sometimes miraculous things happen, and a victim is able to reclaim a life that doctors weren't even sure about. Bill Briggs's story is a testimony that idea after his 20-year-old daughter suffered a severe brain injury in a car accident. Briggs is a contributing correspondent for Today.com and has detailed his daughter's harrowing abilities to overcome her brain injury and regain many of the life skills that doctors weren't sure she'd ever get back. Amidst his marvels at his daughter's bravery, Briggs also tells of a deep and devoted love to his daughter.
Andrea Briggs was riding in the passenger seat of a friend's car on a normal evening. Both driver and passenger were wearing their safety belts, going the speed limit in a 35 mph zone, and were waiting to make a left turn into oncoming traffic when the tragedy struck: an SUV hit the passenger side of the car. Andrea's head smashed against the side window, causing her brain to smash against the side of her skull and resulting in bleeding and tearing of neurons that controlled her ability to breathe, swallow, think or communicate. She was immediately rushed to the hospital with a very small chance of surviving the night. Doctors and nurses told Bill and his wife to expect the worst.
But Andrea surprised everyone when she went from lifeless to pointing to "yes" and "no" on handwritten cards. She was discharged from the hospital after her insurance ran out and continued her therapy at home. Soon, she was able to speak and stand for 10 seconds at a time without holding on to anything. Her memory is even improving, but the most spectacular part of her story is the renewed bond between Bill and his daughter. On Bill's birthday, almost a year to the day of her last eery Facebook message to her father before the accident, Andrea wrote her dad a card in which she stated: “I love you dad. Thanks for being there for me. I couldn’t imagine going through this without your love and support. Love, Andrea xoxo."
Ultimately, the brain is vast and unexplored territory. Doctors don't even completely understand why some patients with brain injuries are able to survive and even thrive, while others give up quicker. Perhaps it has something to do with those around us that are there to support us through the toughest times–Bill and Andrea's story is at least evidence of that.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.