Traumatic Brain Injury

young woman holding camera

December 20, 2012: College student and avid photographer Allyson Simbeck was back in Lancaster on winter break. She and a friend were out for the afternoon, capturing photos near the train tracks by Park City mall. As a train approached, Allyson ran to get her camera case from the tracks, slipped on some rocks, and fell head first into the side of the moving train. Her friend called for help and gave Allyson CPR.

Allyson does not remember anything from that day or the 15 days she spent in a coma at Lancaster General Hospital.

When she arrived at the LGH Trauma Department, Allyson was unresponsive. Her parents were immediately notified and told their daughter was in serious condition. Doctors put young woman outside holding camera with mom kissing her cheekAllyson in a medically induced coma to give her brain the chance to heal, offering regular updates on her progress. Later, her parents expressed gratitude for the skilled and compassionate care they received from the trauma team.

Allyson woke up on New Year’s Day 2013, and shortly thereafter, was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for further treatment. There, she learned to eat, chew, swallow, walk and gain back strength. Three weeks later she returned home, continuing her recovery with physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Other than a scar on her forehead and one from her tracheotomy, Allyson has no lasting effects from the accident. Her experience, however; did inspire her to alter her educational path. Rather than preparing for a future as school guidance counselor, Allyson pursued studies to prepare her to counsel people facing brain injuries.

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