• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Jessica Hedges

My name is Jessica Hedges. I am a day working cowboy, cowboy poet, wife to a cowboy and mom to two buckaroos in training. At 28 years old I received a Moderate Shear Injury from being kicked in the head by a colt that had bucked me off.

This is my story, Black Friday of 2016 (November 25th) saw me out moving cows with the crew. We returned to the remote camp in Northern Nevada we were staying at. My husband, Sam, and I got my project colt out to train on her. I remember nothing after the first few minutes of the ride until several days later.

Thank goodness Sam was there.He loaded me in a pickup, hauled me out to the highway and accompanied through two ambulance rides. The kick had knocked me out for over 5 minutes. Her hoof split the skin on the right side of my forehead. I had also sustained nerve damage and a slap tear in my right shoulder. After arriving in Reno, they discovered I had a brain bleed. I spent 24-36 hours in the ICU then was transferred to their Nuero Wing.

This is when I began to remember life again and began by talking the ear off the nurse transferring me to my room. The next few days were a blur of visitors, doctors, nurses, naps and slowly getting stronger. I walked the halls and my husband would wheel me to the in-hospital Starbucks. Eight days after the accident, I was released to go home.

Home though was staying with my in laws for a while. Sam had to go back to cow camp, stairs into our split-level house were not a good idea, and two toddler boys would be a lot to handle alone. We also lived in a small town with few medical services.

About 5 weeks was spent with the kids and I being driven from one home to the other.Now at 11 weeks into recovery, I’m getting back on horses, getting back into running, and do daily brain work. No, my health is not perfect. My nerves cause me to feel weak and tired. They may be damaged for the rest of my life and they may get better.

What gives me hope though is that I can work through the pain, un-comfortableness, etc. to retrain them. I’m thankful for an amazing medical and personal support team. Through them and Jesus Christ, I’ve learned I can do anything!

This experience has inspired me to start a new project, #TBIbyEquine. I will use my blog to talk about folks who survived horse related TBI’s. They are common in the cowboy world but the internet only shows how “dangerous” horses are. This experience has taught me how much more we can do to support those folks within our own industry, bringing us closer together. 

I’m not the same person I was before this accident. I’ve learned a lot of empathy, love, and friendship through this healing process.

Now to get my body caught up and I will be unstoppable!

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