Moving on with life: Local boy continues ‘amazing’ recovery after brain injury
Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – Brayden “BB” Butler and his family will never forget the afternoon of Oct. 18, 2014.
On the final lap of an afternoon motocross practice, Butler, who was 8 years old at the time, went down on a jump, crashing and falling on his helmet-clad head.
The hours immediately following the crash are a blur for Butler, but his parents remember every excruciating moment they waited to find out whether their son would survive, and if so, how the rest of his life might look.
Christie Butler, BB’s mother, had left the track minutes before the crash, but his father, Sean, saw everything, from the moment of impact to his son lying on the track, unconscious and gripped by seizures.
“I got the phone call to come back,” she said. “The first thought that came to my mind was, who am I to take this child away from this world? He’s got so much to offer.
“It’s changed our world.”
Christie watched BB float in and out of consciousness on the 45-minute helicopter flight to Children’s of Alabama, where a trauma team stabilized him and found he had an area of hemorrhage inside the tissues of his brain.
In his times of consciousness, the only feeling BB registered was confusion.
“I was confused,” he said. “Everything was cleared out of my mind, and I was confused.”
Doctors determined a cluster of tiny vessels in the right hemisphere of BB’s brain had ruptured, causing symptoms similar to a hemorrhagic stroke, with decreased movement on his left side, according to Christie.
“Dr. Jeffrey Blount, a pediatric neurosurgeon, explained to us that this was not a typical bleed,” Christie wrote in a blog post on Saveinjuredkids.org. “He said if he had 1,000 patients with brain bleeds, 996 would be one of three types, but BB had that less than 1 percent type of brain bleed that was actually located inside the brain.”
BB was at Children’s for almost two weeks, during which he underwent speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and assistance from a teacher with the hospital’s Sunshine School to stay on track with class work, Christie said.
Although doctors predicted BB would leave the hospital in a wheelchair, he had other plans.
“He was adamant that he was going to walk out of the hospital,” Christie said. “He just wasn’t going to take not improving as an answer. The recovery for him has been huge.”
Christie said BB’s doctors called his recovery “radical,” “ahead of the curve” and “amazing.”
He had to relearn speech and basic skills, such as brushing his teeth, with one hand.
“He had no mobilization of his left side initially,” Christie said.
After starting therapy, BB said he felt more confident.
“I really focus on what I’m doing,” BB said of his thought process. “I do it, and once I finish it, I’ll think about that I need to work on it.”