Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 4:11 pm
Restoring sport and study dreams
In 2007, Brooke was focused on completing Year 12 and playing competitive sport when a car accident turned the 17-year-old’s prospects from bright to bleak. After 22 days in a coma, she awoke to discover she was paralysed down one side, unable to speak or think clearly. Weeks later, she was transferred to Royal Rehab’s Brain Injury Unit, where she was expected to spend 12 months.
“I didn’t understand the consequences of what had happened to me and it took a while to come to terms with the fact that things wouldn’t be the same again. Instead of being able to return to school, now my focus would be on working hard to get my life back.”
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy helped her gain strength and function. Brooke relearned everyday skills such as how to brush her teeth, shower and walk.
“Cleaning your teeth is such a simple task, but it was very satisfying when I could do it for myself again.”
Brooke astonished everyone by going home after two months, with ongoing staff visits and day rehabilitation sessions provided through Royal Rehab’s Brain Injury Community Rehabilitation Team.
Overtime her goals progressed to include returning to study, sport and driving.
Royal rehab’s Driver Assessment and Training program consolidated Brooke’s independence, and visits with her neuropsychologist helped her complete studies in early childhood education. Speech therapy has given her on the job confidence.
“The speech therapy techniques have been really helpful. I was finding it difficult to be heard over the children, so as well as helping me to increase the volume in my voice, the therapist provided me with other strategies for getting the children’s attention,” Brooke said.
In 2016, Brooke married long-term sweetheart Dan. The happy couple look forward to starting a family in the future.