• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Emilie Saltzman

My daughter Emilie suffered a TBI on October 14 2015, when she was 7 years old when she fell off a horse during a riding lesson. She was not breathing. As a Mom, the most surreal moment is when your child is not breathing and you have to perform CPR!

Emilie was airlifted to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Emilie had sustained 4 different brain injuries. She was placed on life support. After a week on life support she was slowly taken off and began what is called the “awakening process”. After 3 1/2 weeks at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital she was moved to Blythedale Rehabilitation Hospital. 

When Emilie was finally alert we could really see the extent of her injuries. Emilie lost her ability to speak and was paralyzed completely on the right side. She could no longer swallow. She lost the ability to control her bodily functions. Emilie spent the next 4 months living at Blythedale Children’s Hospital. We never left her side…..

Emilie left the end of February and is now living at home. She goes to Blythedale Children’s Hospital  everyday for school and out patient care. She has re-learned how to eat, talk, walk, run, skip, and go to the bathroom on her own. While at Blythedale she was able to attend school there and not only caught up with her studies but completed 2nd grade while there. Emilie continues having speech/cognitive therapy as well as occupational.

TBI One Love, I am finally able to share Emilie’s journey with you and others, for I am sharing for 3 very important reasons…..

One, I hope that Emilie’s journey can spread the word to just how incredibly important it is to wear a proper helmet while horseback riding. Emilie’s helmet that day saved her life.

Two, I know sadly that there are other parents out there right now as I write this, that are in that very same dark place that myself and my family found ourselves during the first 3 weeks after the accident. I want them to know that with a TBI there is always hope. There can be recovery. Emilie is proof of that. I am sharing two photo’s of Emilie. One, is from the first week after the accident and the other from her graduation this June 2016. Children are amazing when it comes to recovering from TBI’s. They are resident. They endure. They heal.

Third, I want to say thank you to the Doctor’s and Nurses and Therapists that treat children with TBI’s. You become our extended family. You fight for these children. You care for them and you help them attain their goals which means so much. You educate us, the parents and in some way find the time to also support the family during this insanely difficult time.

Thank you with all my heart, how I love you all!

I hope by sharing Emilie’s story it can shed some light on TBI’s and perhaps give a little hope to another family!

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