In 2011, when Katie was 16, she woke up with a bad headache and was confused and unaware of what she was saying. After a visit to her doctor and local ER, she ended up at the Nebraska Medical Center with the diagnosis of an aneurysm on the left side of her brain that caused a stroke.
At that time, she was a junior at Lutheran High Northeast in Norfolk, and she couldn’t complete the school year. That summer she worked tirelessly with teachers and occupational and speech therapists and returned to school in the fall. Although the schoolwork, assignments and routine were difficult, she was able to graduate with her class. Following her brain injury, Katie and her mom began attending Nebraska Brain Injury Conferences held by the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska (BIA-NE). There she talked with health professionals who could relate to her and met with other survivors. Those experiences made her want to help others, so she started the Nebraska Brain Injury Survivors (NBIS) an online support group. She specifically wants to help other young brain injury survivors.
In addition to learning new information, being in contact with others who experienced brain injury at the Brain Injury Conferences made her realize how very blessed she is and how well she has recovered since the brain injury.