Back in 2003, a young Midland girl was involved in a freak accident while attending church camp. She's been working with a physical therapist for the past seven years, and on Thursday...she was officially released from therapy.
Synergy Physical Therapy focuses on kids...specializing in physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Cathy Howard, a physical therapist and co-owner of the clinic, spoke with Big 2 about a very special patient.
"I have known Alyssa Adair for seven years and began therapy with her right after she returned from a traumatic brain injury," Cathy said.
Alyssa was an entertainer. She loved to dance. But during a visit to church camp in 2003, her life drastically changed.
"We had just walked back from the hike to sit under some trees and talk about the bible study," Alyssa said. “My counselor just stood up and screamed at us and said 'Come! Run to me!'...I got up, began to run, but I got tripped over something, and before I got back up everything turned black."
"I had just come from HEB buying groceries and my phone was rIinging and I have called ID and it said Ceta Canyon United Methodist Church Camp. And i thought...well maybe she was missing me as much as I was missing her. So I was kind of excited that it said that," Anna Adair, Alyssa's mother, said.
But it wasn't Alyssa on the other line. It was a camp counselor calling to say there had been an accident. Alyssa was flown to Lubbock and was immediately taken into surgery.
"Three or four hours later the surgeon comes out and says that he had to piece her skull back together like a puzzle and clean out debris. I was like...what's debris? And they said pieces of bone and tree bark and stuff out of her brain," Anna said.
A tree limb had onto Alyssa's head, crushing her skull. For Alyssa, that was the beginning of a long road to recovery. And for Cathy, it was the beginning of a new relationship.
"She began in a wheelchair with the inability to hold her head up or even sit up unsupported, so we've been through a lot together. I remember the first time that I was able to let go of her while she was sitting, and that was quite exciting," Cathy said.
"I hated her when I first started therapy because she made me do stuff. It was so hard to get on hands and knees and she made me do that and I hated her for it. I was so angry," Alyssa said.
But as the months progressed, the two grew closer to each other. Now, after seven years, Alyssa has defied the odds, and is finally done with her therapy.
"She wasn't supposed to live. She was supposed to be a vegetable. We've seen her through all those. We know people who...their children don't get any better, and she keeps getting batter," Anna said.
“It's taken surgeries and training and lots of preparation to get her to this point, but this is where we wanted her to be eventually. So we've reached it. We're really pleased," Cathy said.
"I am truly blessed and I'm just overwhelmed by the pictures of where I've come from. I can't believe it, but you know...I'm here and it's unbelievable. It is. I'm just so happy," Alyssa said.
Cathy said Alyssa is an inspiration to her, and she'll never forget the seven years they spent together. Alyssa will soon graduate from Midland High School. She hopes to start classes at Midland College next year, and eventually hopes to attend Texas Tech where she plans to study writing. Our thanks to Alyssa, Cathy, and Anna for bringing this story to our attention.