Omaha Teen Rolls to Recovery After Skateboarding Accident

Brain Injury
tbi traumatic brain injury madonna rehabilitation hospital rehab skateboarding longboarding
An Omaha teen is recovering at home after an accident nearly took his life. Jackson Koch, 15, was skateboarding in early March with friends close to home when he hit some loose gravel and fell off the board. The bump on his head swelled to the size of a baseball. What was thought to be a minor concussion turned into the fight for his life. Thanks to quick response from friends, parents and the Nebraska Medicine trauma team along with #Prayer Warriors for Jackson, today he's able to walk out of therapy at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Check out his amazing story of recovery.

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Jackson Koch is navigating his way around a pet store with a clear objective in mind. “I have to five animals and the price of them," he said. The outing is part of his therapy at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. “What did we find while we were there. Can you remember the street we took to get there. All those components of going out and about that you don’t really think about until it’s hard to do,” said Kelly Meyers, occupational therapist for Madonna. Jackson is getting is sense of direction back after an accident in early March resulted in a broken neck and a traumatic brain injury. "It’s surreal when you think back. They were telling us basically what we think is a minor concussion was an extremely life threatening injury,” says Jessica Koch, Jackson's mother.

Jackson was out with friends. Skateboarding close to home on a familiar route when he fell hard. “I hit loose gravel with my long board and fell and hit my head a couple of times,” said Jackson.

Quick response by Jackson’s friends, his parents and the paramedics had Jackson at Nebraska Medicine in record time. “He was barely hanging on. He was unresponsive, he was barely breathing. He was paralyzed. The doc said we can let him go peacefully or we can try surgery,” said Jessica. The Kochs chose surgery to relieve the bleeding and swelling on the left side of his brain. For younger brother, Nate, it was tough. He’s rushed in brain surgery and like, a couple days later, he’s on the verge of death, like basically was in rough shape. We prayed a lot, didn’t we? Hmmm.”

Turns out others were praying for Jackson too through the help of the Facebook page #Prayer Warriors for Jackson. ”Pretty soon it was 100,000 shares that were praying for our son. Every day he was making miraculous steps toward recovery. Even though we felt helpless, we didn’t feel hopeless.”

The accident damaged the part of his brain that controls memory and speech. Doctors were unsure what he would remember when he woke up. Recalls Nate, “When he was a little more responsive, his friend came in. They have a secret handshake and he’s like, ‘Jackson, do the secret handshake.’ And he did the whole thing spot on.”

Jackson continued to improve, amazing both the trauma team and his parents. By day 13, Jackson came to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and continues to make strides. “Everyone was so loving and caring. They cared about our whole family and getting Jackson rehabilitated, not just to come home as a disabled child, but as the Jackson that we knew,” said Jessica.

Jackson has this advice: “Wear your helmet. I wasn’t into wearing my helmet before because I think it looks kind of dumb, but like I will now for sure because I don’t want to go through this ever again.”

“We didn’t need anything more than prayers and we could feel our prayers were being answered,” said Jessica.

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