To honor Brain Injury Awareness Month, we would like to highlight the courageous and tenacious Andrea Briggs.
Andrea suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and multiple broken bones in a motor vehicle accident on July 26, 2011. At that time, she was an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Denver and working a part-time job at Aldo to pay her way through school.
The traumatic brain injury caused Andrea to go into a coma and she was immediately transferred to Denver Health for initial emergency medical attention and intensive care. Then, she went to Kindred for long-term acute care, prior to her final inpatient rehabilitation at Craig Hospital. It was during her time at Craig Hospital that she finally awoke from her minimally conscious state. Due to the anterograde and retrograde amnesia, Andrea remembers very little about her early recovery process, even saying that “I cannot even remember my first spring 2011 semester at the University of Colorado.”
Andrea has come a long way in her recovery, but it is still an ongoing process. Some of the critical events she can remember are “when I first was able to walk safely with a walker, and from there I gradually progressed to where I did not use my wheelchair as my main form of transportation anymore.” She has an amazing outlook and sees her recovery “as an upward slope progressing gradually,” even recognizing that it is important to celebrate the small gains here and there.
She is highly dedicated to her physical therapy and is currently enrolled in a study at Craig Hospital, which utilizes the C-Mill to evaluate the effects of virtual and augmented reality in combination with treadmill training in individuals with chronic traumatic brain injury.
Andrea recognizes that “the person I was before my brain injury would have never put in as much hard work as I have contributed to my recovery now. However, I have always been a tough girl all of my life, and thankfully this trait has served me exceptionally well in this recovery!”
She has also been surrounded by the amazing support of her family and friends. “I especially would like to thank my parents; my mom, my dad, and my step-mom, who put their lives on pause to help me recover and feel happy and hopeful about my life again.”
Andrea’s recovery is not only physical in nature. She will be receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology on May 17 of this year! She plans on moving to Knoxville, Tennessee this summer, where she would like to work as a research assistant focusing on the psychology of recovering from traumatic brain injuries.
To learn more about the study at Craig Hospital or to find out how to enroll click here.