It’s great to read a story about a traumatic brain injury victim who makes a comeback beyond all expectations. And that is certainly the case with Vada Vasquez.
The New York Post Monday printed a photo of Vasquez as she lay on a sidewalk in the Bronx, shot in the head during a gang war last year, her eyes open, bleeding onto the concrete. She was 15 then, on Nov. 16, 2009, when she was hit with a bullet meant for another person. She was an innocent victim caught in the middle of a gangbang battle.
The Post did a full update on Vasquez Monday, a story headlined “Miracle Teen’s Hard Road Back.”
After she was shot, doctors operated on Vasquez to take out the bullet that had hit the left temporal lobe of her brain, the part of the mind that controls speech, according to The Post. The teen was in a coma for several days before waking up with no memory of the shooting.
Vasquez spent last Thanksgiving in rehab at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She went through painstaking speech therapy there, according to The Post, initially struggling unsuccessfully to say the words “love” and “hi.” What was frustrating was that Vasquez knew she had been able to say those words before.
The young woman was home for Christmas, and she was still having trouble speaking. At that time, she had to wear a helmet because she was awaiting surgery to reconstruct her skull.
She had that surgery in February, and has made great strides in her rehab, all described by The Post.
But Vasquez is not out of the woods. She still gets horrible headaches — and nightmares. But she’s upbeat, and happy to be alive to have celebrated her 16th birthday earlier this month at the local Great Adventure.