Kendall used to hate vegetables. She used to think she would study sports therapy at Missouri Valley, where she planned to attend in the fall. That all changed on a rainy Friday night in June when the ATV Kendall was riding slipped off a gravel path and fell more than 15 feet into a creek bed. The driver died instantly. Kendall lived.
For approximately 12 days, Kendall lay in a coma while her family hoped and waited for Kendall to return. The delightful 18-year-old was in there somewhere, but they were not sure what to expect when she awoke. Kendall had sustained a closed head injury, which is when the brain bounces against the skull, often in a back and forth motion, but the skull itself does not fracture or open.
After eight weeks spent in inpatient therapy, Kendall came to the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) for medical rehabilitation. During three months of comprehensive rehabilitation services, Kendall worked with her RIKC therapists to accomplish her goals: driving again and beginning college. In order to do this, Kendall and her therapists worked to strengthen her executive functions (thinking, reasoning, paying attention, judgment, problem solving, memory, new learning, and processing speed). “She made significant progress,” explained Diane Jeffries, Kendall’s occupational therapist, who worked with Kendall to reach her goals using tools such as the Dynavision, Wii, Playstation, EyeToy, and Nintendo DS.
Kendall’s therapists attribute much of her progress to her outlook on life. Kendall’s family agrees. “Everything she does, she does with a passion,” Kendall’s grandfather explained, as he accompanied her through the halls of RIKC. Kendall, herself, has taken on a new motto for how her life will proceed from here: “You can either throw in the towel or use it to wipe off the sweat.” Kendall has vowed to do the latter – within the last several months, sharing her story with church groups and healthcare organizations.
Since the accident, Kendall has decided she likes vegetables. She likes spending time with her family, who have all supported her every step of the way; and she wants to be somebody else’s motivator. “Your life is your message to the world, so let it be inspirational,” she quoted.