Teen Recovering from Brain Injury Defies Odds

ella merrill

(South Bend Tribune) – Sometimes, the left side of Ella Merrill’s body has a mind of its own. Her hand might not move a cup the way she expects it to, or her foot won’t lift when she’s willing it to run. She forgets things, which sometimes is frustrating, sometimes comical. She gets tired and most days, at age 17, likes to take a nap. One year ago, Ella’s life changed forever because of a brain injury so severe she lay in a coma for weeks.

Doctors expected she would live the rest of her life in a persistent vegetative state.

But not only did Ella wake up and start talking in about six weeks’ time, she rocketed through recovery to pick up life where she left off, stunning her family and her doctors. Today, the Edwardsburg High School senior is busy with her classes, as well as an early college course, and she’s relearning tennis, a sport at which she had excelled. Recovery is a lot of work, but Ella feels lucky.

“People think I’m crazy for being like, ‘Oh yeah, I wouldn’t change it,’ but I really wouldn’t,” Ella said about the crash. “I feel like it’s shaped me to be the person I am now, and I really like that person.” CONTINUE