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20-year-old shocks doctors with recovery after traumatic brain injury from car accident

Posted at 6:39 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 06:39:33-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A 20-year-old woman from Big Rapids continues to make more progress than doctors had expected, even months after a car accident that left her severely injured.

Bek Caudle was driving home with her boyfriend on New Year's Day. The roads were icy in the area they were driving near Ann Arbor.

Because of the conditions, they lost control and crashed on the overpass near M-23 and M-14. The two were trying to walk toward the grass for safety reasons, when another driver lost control and hit Bek.

"Her boyfriend’s mom called and said there was an accident. I just screamed, 'Is she alive?' And she was like, 'She was breathing when they put her in the ambulance, but I don’t know,'" said her mom Nancy Caudle.

She was immediately taken the hospital, where her family learned she suffered from a traumatic brain injury, multiple skull, and rib fractures. She also fractured her c-1 vertebrae and also had a punctured lung. Doctors were unsure of what her recovery would look like or how long it would take her to walk again.

Her parents say she was unresponsive and unable to 'track' with her eyes, meaning she could not follow objects in motion.

One day, she turned a corner and began 'waking up' from her traumatic brain injury.

"Her eyes were open, and she just looked different. And I said, 'Bek, how about a high 5? It was the first response," said her father Phil Caudle. "I knew it my soul that she was going to be okay."

Bek continues to surprise doctors and her parents. Today she can walk, cook and do many of the other activities she used to. She is still working towards her goal of dancing, which she hopes will come in the near future.

Throughout all the recovery, Bek has kept a positive attitude instead of becoming bitter.

"That doesn’t get me anywhere. It doesn’t make the car accident not happen. All I can do is push forward and be happy with the progress that I have had," said Bek. "You have to realize that your future isn’t going to look like your past. They are not going to be the same, so you just need to keep pushing forward. Because your future will hold a lot more than your past did."

Bek will continue outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed.