We all know and love our girl with the beautiful soul and impressive dreadlocks, Ellen. We sat down this week with her to learn more about her injury, how she came to be living right down the road from NextStep Orlando and what keeps her motivated.
Take us through an average day in your life before your injury?
"An average day in my life before my injury was very focused on playing softball, going to school, and hanging out with friends or family. Before my injury my main interest was playing softball, I dedicated most of my time to focus on pitching for college. It was definitely something I was truly passionate about, practicing 3-5 hours almost daily, playing during weekends on and off season, and trying my hardest to excel.
How did the injury occur?
In 2009 a few friends and I were on our way back from the store when the driver started “huffing”. With the effects from the drug the driver froze up and passed away, veering off the side of the road we hit a tree, unfortunately none of us had our seatbelts on leaving one passenger with minor injuries, and me being life flighted to my local hospital. I had severely hit the top of my head in the car putting me in a coma. After doctors assessed my injuries they reported to my family I had a fractured pelvis, dislocated hip, a broken neck, and a traumatic brain injury. If I ever woke up from my coma I would more than likely be blind, have the cognition of a third grader, and would be paralyzed from the chest down with limited to no hand function.
How did you find NextStep Orlando?
After finding out about my injury my mother’s college roommate who lives in the area reached out to let us know about the NextStep facility. My first impression of NextStep was excitement and that I found a facility with the exercise I need.
What keeps you coming back to NextStep Orlando?
I keep coming to NextStep not only for the great training programs that’ve been developed but the support, camaraderie, and people with similar goals in mind.
Do you have any goals?
I have many goals in life but as far as physically my long-term goal is to be healthy and able to live and function in life without using wheelchair, as of now my goals are to stay healthy, maintain and gain any function possible, to push myself living life more independently by keeping my body active.
What do you think of Activity-Based Training?
If you haven’t tried activity-based training I highly suggest it. It will keep your body active and circulation going, not only promoting recovery but also helping with secondary complications like pressure sores or infections. Most importantly you’ll get to move!
What motivates you?
So much inspires me and pushes me harder everyday, from making short term goals like committing to being active or listening to music to pick you up on a bad day, but what inspires and pushes me most is living life day to day and going through life’s experiences.