Kailey’s Journey: Part 3
Kailey’s Journey: Life After Brain Injury Rehabilitation(Editor’s Note: In a three-part series we share the touching story of former CNS patient Kailey Tesdahl. We began with Part 1, which chronicled her injury and path to CNS. In Part 2, we documented her journey to recovery, and in Part 3 we share her life post-rehabilitation).
18-year-old Kailey Tesdahl was admitted to CNS’ inpatient program in August 2017, after suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) - the result of a car accident that occurred on her way to high school graduation. After hospitalization and months of intensive rehabilitation at CNS Dallas and CNS Fort Worth, Kailey progressed from being non-verbal and unable to walk to collecting her diploma in May 2018. The community involvement and interest in Kailey’s story were overwhelming.
“The Burleson Star approached us and invited us to be interviewed on Johnson County (JoCo) Community Radio,” said Kailey’s mom, Stephanie Tesdahl. “We felt like it was a good time to tell her story, and the community had been on this journey with us,” she noted. “It was nice to show them how far we’ve come.”
Kailey went on air as a special correspondent, sharing her experiences of overcoming the enduring challenges associated with TBI. She appeared several more times, once even interviewing her CNS therapists. Then the determined young woman started preparing to collect her diploma. “Her school said she could graduate whenever she felt ready,” said Stephanie. Kailey reached out to both the superintendent and the principle to say she was prepared to walk with the graduating class of 2018.
Kailey’s cap and gown were destroyed in her car accident, so, her school ordered her a special 2017 cap and gown to wear during the ceremony. As Kailey walked across the stage, “everybody stood up and cheered,” Stephanie remembered. Kailey was discharged from her day neuro program at CNS Fort Worth in August 2018 and enrolled in community college a week later.
Today, Kailey is driving independently, riding her bike, working out and staying active. She is even participating in community fundraising events. “It feels nice to give back,” Kailey says.
This summer, Kailey will return to a part-time job at a restaurant. Her successful outcome is the result of many healthcare professionals in the community who established a continuum of care following her injury. The intensive rehabilitation she received at CNS was a key component in that continuum. Her mom and family were also instrumental in her remarkable journey.
"Kailey is a miracle,” says Stephanie. “My wish is that her story helps someone along the way in their recovery.”