Fort Worth, Texas,
18:40 PM

Abby's story: She still defies the odds

Abby Pagel updates her remarkable story of recovery following car wreck


On Feb. 16, 2014, Abby Pagel was involved in a terrible car wreck in her hometown of Muenster, Texas, that left her with numerous broken bones, a small brain bleed and in a coma. After spending 25 days in two separate hospitals, Abby was moved to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, for rehabilitation.

Abby spent 57 days at Cook Children’s, before she was able to return home and walked across the stage to receive her diploma.

Today, Abby offers an update on her condition.

I am doing great! I continue to heal more every day and have come such a long way since the accident on February 16, 2014 and my discharge from Cook Children’s on May 9, 2014.

It is hard to believe that it has been more than a year and half since that horrific night that has forever changed my life.

After being released from Cook Children’s I immediately began outpatient therapy four days a week in Denton, Texas. I was able to graduate with my high school class at the end of May 2014, I walked across the stage and received my diploma, with a very emotional standing ovation from everyone in attendance. In July, I took a college course at North Central Texas College (NCTC) in Gainesville, which is about 20 minutes from my hometown, all the while still attending outpatient therapy.

My parents, sisters, aunts and grandparents arranged for my transportation to and from everywhere.

In August 2014, I underwent surgery to release the contracture in my left Achilles tendon. Then started the Fall 2014 semester of college at NCTC taking six credit hours and by this time my outpatient therapy was down to three days a week.

In late October 2014, I was cleared to drive again and what an amazing feeling that was to be able to have my driving independence back. I completed the Fall 2014 semester at NCTC and registered with Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas for the Spring 2015 semester. In January 2015 I moved into the dorm at college taking nine credit hours. I was still in physical therapy a few days a week so we transferred my therapy from Denton to Wichita Falls which I completed in February 2015.

I moved back home over the summer and underwent further reconstructive surgery on my left thigh in June. I traveled to New York mid-August with my family for vacation, then upon return immediately moved into an apartment with two of my friends in Wichita Falls to start the Fall semester of classes. I am currently a sophomore at Midwestern State University taking 12 credit hours. I have some little things, everyday things, I have to work harder to achieve, but have and I'm adapting.

I changed my major the other day, but still plan on being in the medical field. Tackling Anatomy and Physiology this semester is a challenge. No one is lying when they say it is hard, requiring a lot of memorization.

My short term memory is one thing that is still not how it was before the wreck, but continues to get better every day. I just have to study more and use note cards, color coding, and anything else that will help me remember the material. In Spring 2016 I will apply for the Respiratory Care program at the University with plans of obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care.

I am so very Blessed to have been placed in Cook Children’s Medical Center for my inpatient recovery in the Neuro Rehabilitation Center and in the care of Dr. (Fernando) Acosta and the team of doctors, nurses, therapists and aids. Their knowledge, skills and encouragement with me throughout my recovery along with Faith, Prayer’s and so much support from my family and friends are a direct relation to my successful recovery. 

Click here to read Abby's original story.


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