Brady Holt has taken a lot of steps forward during the five months since the accident that almost took his life, but the steps he took a little more than a week ago were the first literal, physical ones.
On May 14, the Utah State University freshman football player was on his way to Logan when he went off the road, over-corrected, rolled and was thrown from his car. His extensive injuries included brain damage and broken bones.
Holt is now walking again.
Assisted by a walker, he took a few steps across his hospital room 10 days ago. Then, just five days later, he walked hundreds of feet down the hospital hallway.
It’s progress like this that has Christy Holt hopeful her son will be able to live a normal life one day – one where he can have a career, get married and start his own family.
“It could happen, it may never happen,” she said. “We just have to take it one day at a time, but what he is doing is a very good indication that he may have some type of a normal life.”
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A couple days after the accident Christy thought she was planning her son’s funeral. Somehow, Brady fought and made it through alive. His family was then informed he would be paralyzed from the waist down. He beat those odds too. Not only that, but he is eating normal food, talking and smiling.
For the family, a difficult part of this is not knowing how long recovery will take. They know every brain injury is different, that some recover faster than others and some don’t progress at all.
Looking back, however, is encouraging. Brady has come a long way. It took a long time for him to open his eyes, and even then he wasn’t fully awake or aware. In mid-August he said his first word: mom. A week after that he was able to repeat what others said.
“Now you walk into his room and he’s like, ‘What’s up, how are you doing?’” Christy said. “He can ask you questions. He’s very aware of what’s going on around him.”
Christy said her son can get frustrated with his progress and the situation he awoke to find himself in. She said Brady still remembers what it was like before his accident, when he was independent. Now he needs help for the simplest of tasks. Despite the hindrances, the Aggie walk-on is still driven by the game he loves. Christy said that if Brady is asked what he wants to do, he’ll reply that he wants to go back to Logan and play football.
“If that is what he is working toward and if that keeps him positive and motivated to work hard, then we’ll have that conversation when that time comes,” she said.
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About a month before Brady left for Logan he had just returned from an LDS mission to New York. Christy said the family hadn’t heard many of Brady’s stories from his time away from home, but they were planning on sitting down together, looking at pictures and listening all about his experiences.
After the accident, she didn’t know if she would get that chance. She didn’t know that if he woke up he would even remember his two years in the mission field, but when a senior husband-and-wife pair of missionaries that served with Brady visited him in the hospital, she said he “immediately remembered” who they were and gave the couple a hug.
“We learned more about his mission and more about him since the accident happened through people that have reached out to us, fellow companions and people that he went to school with than he would ever tell us,” she said.
Christy said head coach Matt Wells and the USU football staff has done a great job in keeping in contact with the family and visiting Brady. She said she receives weekly texts and occasional visits checking up on her son, even during football season
“Right now they are so busy and have so much on their plate that they don’t need to worry about Brady,” she said. “But they do.”
One goal of the Holt family is to get Brady back to Logan to watch his teammates play a football game this season. The original plan was to attend the game against Fresno State last Saturday, but Brady isn’t accustomed to long car rides yet. They are concerned the long trip from Salt Lake would cause Brady too much back pain. The hope is that he will be feeling well enough to make the last game of the season on November 12.
Whether they make it to the game or not, Brady is already aware of the support and love that has been show to him.
“Anybody that he is around, he’s always telling them thank you,” Christy said. “He’s very aware in that regard, so we just want to let everyone know how much we appreciate the support, kind words and the prayers, because there is no way Brady could be where he is without that.”