Traumatic Brain Injury
Morgan Saueressig is a 17-year-old high school senior who was just trying to navigate life as a teenager during a pandemic. As if that feat wasn’t enough, Morgan was involved in serious car crash that resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that landed her in intensive care and required close monitoring of pressures within the brain. Upon her condition stabilizing, Morgan was transferred to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Dallas (BSWIR-Dallas) to begin a comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery program specializing in TBI.
Morgan recalled, “When I woke up from my accident, I wasn’t able to move very well. I couldn’t move or feel my left side at all. The accident also had a ton of different effects on my brain’s cognitive abilities. This wasn’t obvious to see immediately but they included my brain’s ability to process information and short-term memory loss.”
Morgan’s complex condition and recovery would take an entire team of rehabilitation specialists. With around-the-clock nursing care and physician oversight, the BSWIR team of speech, occupational, physical and recreation therapists went to work, determined to help Morgan get back to high school as quickly as possible.
For Morgan, her goal was to gain as much independence back as possible.
It was critical to begin cognitive therapy as quickly as possible. Working daily with her speech-language pathologists to improve memory and cognitive thinking allowed Morgan to return to academics via virtual learning from her school – which was then built into her therapy day. Morgan’s physical therapy focused on mobility and incorporated body-supporting equipment for gait training to improve walking.
Morgan also took it upon herself to maximize her stay at BSWIR getting involved in activities such as the hospital’s Halloween costume contest, dressing up as a ‘Pink Lady’ to go along with her rehabilitation team’s Grease themed costumes. Her team also went the extra mile and hosted a “homecoming” event for Morgan, complete with her date, since she missed her school’s actual homecoming.
Morgan shared, “My rehab team has been incredibly helpful with everything from my cognitive abilities to talking, and even relearning how to brush my teeth. They helped me improve not only the physical aspects of everything, but also encouraged me and cheered me on every step of the way. I am so grateful for every single person on my team and I am super proud of the progress I have made.”
After several months in the hospital, Morgan was able to go home just in time for Thanksgiving to be with family. She is continuing her rehabilitation at BSWIR’s specialized Day Neuro Program, where she is maximizing her progress and focusing on further rebuilding her life. Best of all, she has returned to class virtually to finish out her senior year of high school.
“Even though it would be very easy to get overwhelmed, I am lucky enough that the accident made me really appreciate everything in my life.”