About the Accident

Andrea Briggs, then 20, was critically injured on the evening of July 26, 2011 while returning from a Denver ice cream shop with a friend. She was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by an oncoming vehicle in the Cherry Creek area. She suffered multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Paramedics did not expect her to survive. She has fought back and with help will fully recover.

 

Andrea BriggsAndrea is a smart, funny, feisty, fun and beautiful college student who dreams of working to become of voice for others who have sustained brain injuries. Days before the crash, Andrea learned that she made the dean’s list during her spring semester after posting a 4.0 GPA. She has always been adventurous, warm, loving and kind – a daughter who dearly loves her parents, step mom, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She is a friend who adores her tight circle of pals.

To put a picture of Andrea in your mind is to envision sweet, often sly laughter, a firm hug, an animal lover, an extraordinarily fashionable girl with an excellent taste in music, a fan of hip comedy, and a highly independent spirit bursting with life. One very cool chick. She entered this world a fighter, spending her very first weeks in an intensive care unit. This trait has served her well during her recovery. She never backs down from a challenge.

Since her injury, she has had to work to regain her ability to swallow, eat, drink, smile, laugh, speak, read and comprehend complex sentences and stories, do math, think logically, move her left hand, arm, and leg, then her right arm, hand, foot and leg. She now can stand without help, use a walker or cane to move through rooms and use stairs, and can even take a short series of steps without any help at all. Her memory has improved immensely as have her cognitive abilities. Andrea still has a distance to travel to fully rebuild herself and her life. But she is on her way. She has accomplished all of her gains through her own tenacious therapy work at Craig Hospital, and through the help of a supremely talented group of therapists and a terrific doctor.

In December 2014, she completed her first on-campus course – philosophy – in nearly three years. A triumphant moment that came with intense work and commitment. Now, more classes will follow. 

Like a newborn baby, everything – every little thing – from breathing and blinking to walking and talking – must be relearned after a severe traumatic brain injury, one baby step at a time. Andrea has patiently conquered each of these milestones a month at a time. Her sense of humor remains fully intact. She is back on Facebook, texting and constantly listening to music. Her physical therapist has called Andrea “the hardest worker” at Craig Hospital. And through all the grueling, often-painful rehab work, Andrea maintains her sweetness, her smile and her inherent toughness. She is fearless. She has taught us all the true meaning of “warrior.”