Volleyball enthusiast returns after catastrophic brain injury

Charlotte Huitema spent 20 days in a coma after suffering a brain injury just over a year ago.

Sourced from Hamilton Spectator It's been a tumultuous year for the 20-year-old Canadian after being involved in a violent two-car accident that left her brain severely swollen. Before the accident, which happened on her way to church, Charlotte was enjoying her second season with the Mohawk Mountaineers volleyball team. She suffered a life threatening head injury in a two-car collision on Jan. 19, 2014. Charlotte still has difficulties related to her injury but hasn't let them stop her from living life to the fullest. She has had intense physiotherapy throughout the last year in her road of recovery.  "I go to the gym by myself, but she (the physiotherapist) still comes every other week," Charlotte said. "I've done some weights, but I want to focus on cardio and my balance and agility." The most difficult of her brain injury are the things that aren't visual. Her memory isn't what it was, and she struggles to remember things in her classes at College. "School has been tough," Charlotte said. "I had a psychology course and after my first quiz, my speech language pathologist and I said we needed to do something. Now I write my tests at a test centre, I get extra time to write tests. I had a tutor that was helpful. I passed the course." "I'll have moments where I've been taught something and the next day I kind of need a reminder on how to do it again. It's just repetition helps me recover. It has gotten better throughout the recovery, but it's still a deficit. I have to use my coping strategies to overcome that." The emotional toll has been tough, but Charlotte is thankful she has no memories of the accident. "There are moments where I think back to it; I don't remember it, but I think back to it," Charlotte said. "In January I was out doing chores in the barn and it just hit me. My dad was out in the barn when the police officers came and told him the horrific news. I started crying because I thought about what my family had to go through. I wouldn't be here without them." "It's frustrating because we're who she is closest to," her mum, Cindy said. "In the beginning when her cognitive strengths were weaker, then it was harder because it was her family who she'd get angry with really quickly. It's improved and gotten so much better." Charlotte is now playing her beloved game of Volleyball again. Read the full story. 
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