The last thing Jabari remembered before his accident was switching lanes behind a truck. The next memory he had was waking up in the STICU at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center.

News, Your Health | 4 months ago

After a Severe Brain Injury, Trauma Survivor Reunites with Care Team

The last thing Jabari remembered before his accident was switching lanes behind a truck. The next memory he had was waking up in the STICU at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center. Thanks to the hard-working Atrium Health trauma and rehabilitation teams who cared for Jabari, he now serves as a powerful example of human strength and resilience.

 

All that Jabari Nelson remembers is this: As he drove home from work one day he switched lanes behind a truck that didn’t have functioning taillights. “Then it went blank,” he says.

The nurses in the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit (STICU) at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center fill those blanks. He arrived by helicopter to the area’s only Level I trauma center covered in blood, with a large laceration on his elbow and a cut over his eye. The team began its assessment.

“We have our family up there,” says Kathi Herggott, RN, the STICU admitting nurse. “We have our attendings, who are our head docs. Then we have our residents and our nurse practitioners and PAs and our respiratory therapists. So everybody rushes in, and we ensure that we can keep this person alive until we know what's going on. We learned that Jabari had some bleeding in his head, which was our primary concern.”

Regaining Strength

Jabari had a significant brain injury and after he woke from his coma, Jabari faced a long road. After he left the STICU, he began physical therapy at Atrium Health Carolinas Rehabilitation. There, Jabari discovered that the same strength and determination that drove his work ethic every day would now drive his recovery.

“I’ve always been a hard worker… it was time to start all over again to get back to the same work that I used to do, and now I just got to push that much harder,” Jabari says. “Actually, I love it. They’re working me. They know about my goals. They know that I plan on getting back to at least being able to work out, if not playing football.”

A sweet reunion

Jabari recently came back to visit the STICU team who helped him after his accident. It became an emotional experience for the team to see Jabari walk into the room on his own to offer his gratitude.

“To see him walking without any support, it's nothing less than a miracle,” says Shannon Johnson, an Atrium Health healthcare technician. “I just thank God that Atrium Health gave me the opportunity to be able to witness this miracle and to see him get his life back. It's the most amazing thing ever.”

“To push me that much and to know that I could do so much, they had so much faith in me,” Jabari says. “I had to come back and to speak to them and give thanks... the simple fact that they’ve done so much for me… It means the world.”

Thanks to the hard-working Atrium Health trauma and rehabilitation teams who cared for Jabari, he now serves as a powerful example of human strength and resilience.


Watch as Jabari reunites with his nurses while celebrating his Home Run for Life at the Charlotte Knights baseball game: