On May 14, 2016, Brady Holt, a freshman football player at Utah State University, was driving back to college when he was involved in a major motor vehicle accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures, which required chest tubes, intubation and being placed on a ventilator. He was given only a 15% chance of survival.
Brady was in and out of the ICU until early June. He had surgery to repair his back and was also diagnosed with pneumonia and meningitis. Brady continued to fight. Though there were setbacks, there were victories, too–from being able to keep his eyes open to weaning off his ventilator and breathing on his own.
In mid-June, Brady was transferred to Sevita and began his therapy. With the support of his dedicated team, he worked on trunk control and getting his strength back in his arms and legs. He was also learning to swallow and follow simple commands. Brady was making leaps and bounds. His breathing had improved, his memory started to return, and he began to recognize those close to him.
When asked about how far her son has come, Brady’s mother Christy replied, “This kid amazes me every day. Brady is not done in this world. He’s got a lot to prove and a lot still to give.”
He never gave up
Brady kept reaching milestones every day. He was able to stand for the first time with the help of the physical therapist and began taking steps with the help of the overhead track system. Over the next few weeks, he became more independent, from transferring without the Hoyer lift to using his wheelchair on his own, to having his tracheostomy tube removed in early October.
“I have rarely seen an individual so determined and hardworking. Despite severe injuries and neurologic deficits, he always had a positive and never-quit attitude. As therapists, we had to be constantly trying new things and staying a step ahead of him. It was very rewarding to see him regain skills, take that first step and say his first word. He certainly exceeded expectations,” said Julie Burnett, PT, MS.
Brady eventually moved to an acute rehabilitation program, where he improved his gross and fine motor skills. After all of his hard work and the support of his care teams, it was then time for Brady to return to his home.
Today, Brady is enjoying all of the things he once did. He is going back to college, spending time outdoors, hiking, hunting, and even coaching his brother in football. Brady got married in the fall of 2020 to his wife, Katie.
“Every step you take forward takes you one closer the finish,” said Brady.