Boating Accident; Teen Recovered

One year ago, Kathleen Hartsfield was critically injured in a boating accident, her brain severely damaged. Since then she's had to start all over, learning to walk and talk, each step a milestone on the long road back.

The lure of Red Wolf and Black Bear brought Kathleen Hartsfield to her feet. These labored footfalls are really giant steps in her recovery.

Kathleen was thrown from a boat on Razor Lake a year ago March. Her head struck a tree and changed her life forever.

Mary Hartsfield, her mother, says, "It's like getting kicked in the gut. All the breath goes out and everything comes to a crashing halt."

Kathleen's therapists devised this trip to encourage her to walk and talk and enjoy her progress.

Right after the boating accident, therapists ranked her at the bottom of a specialized scale with no response to stimulus at all. Now, she is one step shy of the top.

Kathleen still spends four grueling hours in rehab twice a week. She says it's very frustrating not to be able to do simple things, but there are many things Kathleen can do now that she couldn't do just a few months ago.

Kathleen says, "I enjoy scrap booking, and brush my teeth, and bathe myself and get dressed."

Kathleen is one of 1.4 million Americans coping with a brain injury, and while she is working hard to recapture her independence, it's clear her smile and spirit have emerged unscathed.

March is not only the one year anniversary of Kathleen's accident, but it is also Brain Injury Awareness Month.