Teen recovers from car crash injuries at West Texas Rehab Center - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Teen recovers from car crash injuries at West Texas Rehab Center

Abeline_Eighteen-year-old Siearra Stanford was in a horrific two-car wreck in May, 2008. The crash killed one woman, and injured six - including Siearra. "I broke a lot of ribs, and my heart got ripped away from my aorta - and they repaired that," she said. "My spleen was removed, they removed some ribs. I broke my neck and my pelvis and my hipbone, lacerated my liver, and had a pulmonary embolism.

Siearra is paralyzed from the middle of her chest down, and exercise her legs, her therapist straps them together for the teen to use an exercise bike. "I am using my arms to move my legs, so maybe they can come back," she said. "If they don t, they don t, but they should."

Siearra and her mother drive about an hour-and-a-half to get to the West Texas Rehab Center in Abilene from their home near Brownwood. Her mom says her recovery is tremendous. "She couldn't raise her arms up in the air without falling over without assistance. She s worked through blood clots - she's still got a blood clot from her knee to her groin, and everything, and she just was not able to move."

Siearra also was unable to talk after the accident. She wouldn't have been able to give this interview eight months ago. "When I first got home, my left vocal chord was paralyzed, and I couldn't talk right," she said. "It was all whispers, and then it came back one morning."

Her physical therapist, Beth Schaeffer, says that she was hesitant when she first arrived. However, after she began to increase her movement, the standing position helped strengthen her joints, and make it easier for her to breathe. "This rehab has helped me a lot, and Beth has really helped me a lot, because when I came here I didn't have any balance, and now I have good posture."

The Nintendo Wii Fit System also is a part of Siearra's rehab, and she can play virtual games where players stand on what's called a "balance board." But, the fun is all a part of her therapy. "She's doing balance therapy and posture therapy, and all this while she s playing - and not even realizing she s doing therapy," said Shaeffer.

Siearra's mom says that without the therapy her daughter probably still would be home in bed. "She wasn't able to use her limbs at all without falling, and as you saw on the Wii, she can do a lot of that by herself - she can get dressed by herself now, and put on her shoes, and she can live! She can live!"

The West Texas Rehab Center will have its annual telethon on Saturday, January 16 on 7News. It's the rehab center's primary fundraiser that they hold each year. Last year, they raised more than $1 million. It airs from 7PM until midnight, and take a break for the 10-o-clock news before rejoining the fundraiser.

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