Posted on April 8, 2021

Hit by car, Bek makes amazing progress after traumatic brain injury

Rehabilitation is a vital part of recovery after a brain injury. Research shows people with brain injuries experience better outcomes the sooner rehabilitation begins. Rebekah Caudle’s journey is testament to that.

Bek and her boyfriend were involved in a New Year’s Day crash on a highway north of Ann Arbor. When she got out of the car to get to safety, Bek was struck by another vehicle. The 20-year-old experienced a severe brain injury, multiple skull fractures, broken ribs and a punctured lung. She spent the next 20 days in the Intensive Care Unit at University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor before she was stable enough to be transferred. Still in a minimally conscious state, Bek came to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to continue healing and begin intensive rehabilitation to maximize her recovery.

“Patients who have had severe brain injuries … will improve,” said Dr. Stuart Yablon, a Mary Free Bed physician who’s board-certified in brain injury rehabilitation. “What varies from patient to patient is how much and how soon or, unfortunately, in some, how little and how long. But we do expect improvement, and that’s exactly what we saw in Bek.”

Just 10 days after she arrived, Bek surprised everyone when she gave her dad a high five and stood up during a physical therapy session. A few days later, Bek said, “Mom.”

With the support of her family, friends and Mary Free Bed team, Bek battled medical complications and issues associated with her brain injury with hard work and courage. After several more weeks of intensive rehabilitation, including physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapies, she graduated March 5 and walked out of the hospital to claps and cheers.

Now home in Kearsley, north of Flint, with family, Bek is continuing her rehabilitation journey with outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed at Covenant HealthCare.