Lexi Matone of Blakely, Pennsylvania, is a typical 12-year-old: She loves listening to One Direction, talking on her cell phone with her friends, playing video games and jumping on her trampoline. But her life has been anything but typical since December 6, 2013, when she was hit by a car just blocks from home and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
The accident, which threw Lexi about 25 feet, was witnessed by her mom, who was driving towards Lexi to pick her up. “Lexi was unconscious. It was a horrifying scene,” says Jessica Matone. Lexi suffered a skull fracture and broke both eye sockets and her nose.
Lexi was in a coma for a week at a children’s hospital in Danville. Surgery was performed to repair the damages, and a plate was placed in her skull. Even after Lexi awoke from the coma, she was not able to talk or walk due to her brain injury.
When Lexi’s condition stabilized, the Matones chose the Good Shepherd Pediatrics’ inpatient rehabilitation unit in Bethlehem.
“I researched several facilities and was really impressed with what I found, including stories from former patients that I read on the website,” says Jessica. “We visited Good Shepherd and were very pleased with the facility and its staff.”
“We really made the right decision,” she says. “The staff here goes above and beyond. It has been a really amazing experience, under the circumstances. Everyone here made us feel at home, like a family.”
When Lexi entered Good Shepherd, she was not able to walk or talk. Therapists worked with her on both physical and cognitive rehabilitation. Within days, Lexi began to speak again, and “hasn’t stopped since,” according to her mom. She was soon walking with assistance, and about 10 days after admission, began walking on her own.
“Lexi has an amazing attitude about therapy,” says Jessica. “She never complains.”
Just seven weeks after her admission, Lexi was discharged, eager to return home to her family, friends and her dog, Bentley.
While Lexi’s recovery is not complete – she still has nerve pain and memory issues and will continue with outpatient therapy – her progress has been remarkable.
“We’re so thankful,” says Jessica. “It’s amazing how fast Lexi is healing.”