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The long road back from a car crash down a hill

Most people, faced with the prospect of spending 36 hours hanging out of a crashed car's window may not think of themselves as lucky. A woman from Delaware, however, understands how lucky she is; she lost control of her car, and it rolled down a hill, finally coming to rest against a tree. She was left hanging for 36 hours, until she was found by a family friend. Cold November air saved her brain from swelling, after suffering a traumatic brain injury in the crash.

That probably saved her life. In the hospital, it was a long, painful road back. She spent two weeks in intensive care in an induced coma. After three weeks in the hospital, she began relearning how to walk. She underwent six months of outpatient therapy to regain the skills she had once taken for granted. 

While fatal car accidents are always tragic, many people forget the suffering and struggle that those who survive serious car accidents and must undergo years of additional surgeries, rehabilitation and therapy to recover from their injuries.

Three years after the accident, she could no longer wait tables due to pain in her ankle, which was a result of the 36 hours in the cold. She had begun chiropractic treatment to help with her ability to walk and acupuncture to reduce the chronic pain she suffered in her ankle.

She then began working in the clinic as a chiropractic assistant and taking classes for both chiropractic and acupuncture programs. She has completed both, and now hopes to work patients who have suffered brain injuries or strokes.

She is lucky, and she feels she has a direction for her life, and she provides a testament to the hard work and determination recovery from a car accident requires.

Source: USA Today, "Survivor begins new career 11 years after horrific crash," Terri Sanginiti, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, April 29, 2014

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