Kayla's Story

Dec 28, 2020

For Kayla Harden, her last year at Detroit’s University Preparatory Academy was about enjoying school, her friends, cheerleading, senior outings and graduation. She was also looking forward to starting Alabama State. But one month after getting her high school diploma, everything changed.

“I got a call saying my daughter was in a car accident,” said her mom, Katrina Croft. My heart dropped. When I arrived at the hospital, Kayla was pretty bad. She was in a coma on life support with a broken clavicle, an injured left eye and multiple brain contusions.”

During a month-long stay at the DMC’s Detroit Receiving Hospital, Kayla went from a ventilator to a tracheotomy to breathing on her own. When stable, she was transferred to the DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) with a feeding tube. Kayla could barely talk, couldn’t walk, stand or use her left arm or hand.

With daily therapy, Kayla learned to sit up, use a wheelchair, regain some function in her left arm and improve her cognitive skills. When she left a few months later, she was walking with a cane, eating, talking and in great spirits.

“My therapists would set a goal and I’d achieve it then they would set another one and I would do that, too,” said Kayla. “They were so excited whenever I did something new. Everyone at RIM was like family. They were there for me.”

Kayla continues with outpatient RIM therapy. She’s walking unassisted and her short-term memory has improved. Botox therapy has also helped loosen her arm and leg muscles for improved motion. The next step in taking back her life is starting college courses online next semester.

“We are so blessed to have had the best doctors and therapists,” said Katrina. “They were so loving, caring and patient. It’s just amazing how far she’s come. RIM is extraordinary.”

Click here to learn more about RIM’s Brain Injury Program