Fort Worth, Texas,
06
June
2014
|
09:59 PM
America/Chicago

17 year old defies the odds

Walks at graduation

High school graduation was even more exciting at Muenster High School this year since Abby Pagel was able to walk across the stage to receive her diploma.

In February 2014, five girls were in a horrific car wreck near the baseball fields in their hometown Muenster, TX – Abby Pagel was one of them. By the time her parents arrived at the scene, first responders were surrounding the wreck and Abby’s mother, Laura, was searching for her 17-year-old daughter.

“Abby was face down on the other side of the 12-foot fence,” said Laura, “The car was on one side and Abby was on the other. It was a miracle that any of these girls survived; I know they each had angels watching over them that night.”

After being transferred by Careflight to a hospital in Plano, Abby spent 12 days in the ICU with numerous broken bones, a small brain bleed, and was in a coma. She was then moved to an acute care center in Corinth and started to wake up, moving her legs and arms constantly.

Especially being from a small Texas town, the support Abby received from family and friends was immense. The first words Abby said were the names of the other four girls in the car wreck that day. She was more concerned if they were ok than the fact that she was in a hospital. Abby spent 13 days in the Corinth facility until the day she was moved to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

Laura said, “Abby was in need of rehab and had the option of going to a couple different places. As soon as we saw Cook Children’s, we decided this is where we would be moving Abby to.” Within one day, Abby was being transferred to Cook Children’s.

“We arrived at Cook Children’s and were put in a private room. I had been sleeping on a cot in the other facilities, but there was a couch in Abby’s room. That night I slept on the couch and for the first time I didn’t get up in the middle of the night. The nurses took such great care of Abby,” said Laura.

As a senior in high school, Abby‘s biggest concern was that she would miss her senior class photo with the rest of the graduates in her cap and gown. “Her class said if she can’t come to us, then they are coming to Cook Children’s.” Laura told us, “Abby was able to leave the hospital to go to her senior class photo and it was the first time for many of the kids in her graduating class to see her since the accident.”

The Pagel’s spent 57 days at Cook Children’s before Abby was able to return home. While Abby is still going through physical therapy and recovering from the accident, she has made immense progress in the past few months. Abby returned home in time for her high school graduation. Abby walked across the stage and received a standing ovation as she accepted her diploma.

"To hear that Abby was able to walk across the stage for her graduation is a testament to what happens in the Neuro-rehab unit. At one point I wasn't sure if she would ever walk again,” said Fernando Acosta, Jr, M.D., Cook Children’s pediatric neurologist and Abby’s doctor. “The most important ingredient in her recovery is the incredible effort that Abby put in day after day, with her family's constant support. Their efforts are fortified and nurtured by the dedicated and highly trained and skilled multi-disciplinary staff that makes up the heart of the Neuro-rehab unit. I am thrilled to hear that she was able to walk across the stage and I am so proud of Abby and the rehab staff and all that they were able to accomplish, through their care, hard work, dedication and determination to a common goal."

About the author


Caroline Gayler volunteers in the public relations department at Cook Children’s Health Care System. She is a senior at TCU.

 

Comments 1 - 8 (8)
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Tammy Franklin
06
June
2014
Fernando Acosta Jr. is my granddaughter Whitney Faerber neurologist. He is the best! His team has brought Whitney a long way with her dystonia.
Nicolas C.
06
June
2014
Congratulation to Abby!!! The Abby's story is sad, because to be victim of an accident is always difficult and chocking. I am proud of the teenager because she has suceeded.
Jacob Musgrave
07
June
2014
Good for her! I know exactly the feeling! In August of '98, the first weekend of my junior year at W. E. Boswell high scool, i was t-boned on the drivers side by a 1-ton duely pickup that was going 60mph and ran a stoplight. I suffered a severe TBI to the right side, frontal lobe of my brain. Spent 2 weeks in a coma, 2months in the hospital, and 3 1/2 years in rehab therapies. I was initialy told, waking from my coma, that i probably would never walk again. I have come so far past their expectations and almost have made a full recovery! I, too, graduated with my class and WALKED across the stage to recieve my diploma! Once again, congrats to a fellow survivor and overcomer!
Sandra Galvan
07
June
2014
Neuro- rehab was the floor were they help my son accomplish lots of things that I never thought my son was going to be possible to do...do they still have sugarmamna??
JoAnn Pagel
08
June
2014
Abby Pagel is my precious granddaughter and I am so proud of her and thankful to all the doctors, nurses, therapists, and of course Sugarmamma at Cook Hospital.
Anonymous
08
June
2014
I'm one of Abby's very good friends, I graduated with her a couple weeks ago and I can't tell you how much of an amazing woman she is. She always has the biggest smile on her face, always in such a good mood, and is always impressing me with how far she has come. She is so inspiring in everything she does and this article did a beautiful job at focusing on just how amazing she is for not only surviving, but defying odds and walking across that stage, bringing me and everyone there to tears. She is truly a blessing, and I thank God for having her in my life
Tina Gamble
27
June
2014
So glad I came across this medical miracle, wishing you the best future ever Abby. Congratulations graduate!
Connie Randolph
29
June
2014
Dr. Acosta was my son Dalton's neurologist too. We live in Valley View and he will be a Sr. this coming school year. Cook Children's is an amazing place. Dalton was in a coma for 12 days, we were there for a total of 67 days. Our accident was in Sept of 2011 and Dalton will graduate with his class in 2015. We followed your progress through friends from Muenster and you are an amazing young lady, we are so proud of where you have come. You and Dalton should visit someday, you both have been through so much.