Louisville teen shares recovery story for Brain Injury Awareness month
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A teenager with their entire life ahead of them gets into a crash, changing their life forever.
Lewis Ferguson, 19, has spent the last year and a half in Louisville after a crash forced him to relearn basic functions like walking and talking.
His pickup truck was mangled in the aftermath of the crash.
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“I just know I should be dead,” Ferguson said.
The crash happened on Oct. 11, 2020, when Ferguson was 18-years-old. The severity of the crash caused Ferguson to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
”He had injuries deep in his brain as well as outside, inside, right side, kind of all over,” Dr. Darryl Kaelin with UofL Health Frazier Rehabilitation Institute said. “He was in a minimally conscious state.”
Life for Ferguson had changed ever since.
”I couldn’t even talk,” he said.
Ferguson remains in extensive therapy at UofL Health to make sure his body stays in shape until his brain catches up.
”People like Lewis are often written off,” Kaelin said. “Their families are told he’s going to have to go home completely dependent, he may have to go to a nursing home, but by having a program like ours, we show people that life goes on. Although you may not be exactly what you were, you still are pretty special. Lewis is special in our eyes.”
Ferguson is sharing his story for Brain Injury Awareness month. Brain injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., with at least 2.8 million Americans suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.
”Car crashes still remain one of the top reasons people have traumatic brain injuries, especially among young Americans,” Kaelin said. “Individuals from 15 to about 35 are the highest population that has brain injuries followed by the older population that have falls.”
As for Ferguson, he said he hopes to one day walk on his own, feed himself and get back behind the wheel.
He shared is perspective on life saying, ”live everyday like it’s your last.”
Kaelin said the best way to prevent a traumatic brain injury is to buckle up when in a vehicle, wear a helmet, or appropriate headgear for anything like riding a bike, contact sports, riding a horse and to make your home safer if you are older.
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