Amanda Burt, 19, sits with her parents, Randy and Nicole, at their home in Lacombe. Amanda recounts how a collision changed her life forever and yet she has seen remarkable recovery.                                Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Amanda Burt, 19, sits with her parents, Randy and Nicole, at their home in Lacombe. Amanda recounts how a collision changed her life forever and yet she has seen remarkable recovery. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Lacombe resident sees remarkable recovery after collision

Former Lacoka Female Hockey athlete Amanda Burt speaks to her recovery after a major collision

On. Aug. 30, 2015, Amanda Burt was involved in a collision so serious it put her in the hospital for 13 months.

Amanda, who is from Lacombe, was driving through an uncontrolled intersection east of Lacombe at the age of 16 when her car was T-boned by a three-quarter ton pickup. The force of the impact was so much that Amanda’s car landed 150 feet from the collision.

“I was knocked immediately unconscious,” said Amanda.

Her passengers were seriously injured with broken bones and they took some time to heal but they were able to return to school that fall. For Amanda, however, it was a different story.

Despite no broken bones, she had a major brain injury that caused her to lose the function of the right side of her body.

“I was in a coma for about 10 days but I wasn’t fully awake for about a month after that,” said Amanda.

Her prognosis? “If you took six people through the same thing, you would have six different results,” said Amanda’s father Randy.

“They had no idea when she was in a coma,” added her mother Nicole. “She rated in the lowest of the low (of the Glasgow Coma Scale).”

In the first days after the incident, specialists put Amanda’s body through rigorous tests to see if it would react. Randy said one day her body would react to testing and then another day it wouldn’t.

Her recovery was up in the air, including her ability to remember events. “I probably lost about a year before the accident and about a year after,” said Amanda.

“I know I went to grad but I can’t picture any of the grad things.”

Amanda’s attitude from the start of this major event has been one of ‘Can-do.’ Her parents followed her lead and rather than put up road blocks to her recovery, the family’s focus has been one of ‘onward and upward.’

“We didn’t think about this on the negative side,” said Randy.

“She was just very driven from the point that she opened up her eyes,” added Nicole.

Recovery and possibilities

Each step to Amanda’s recovery has been filled with small, yet significant improvements.

She credits the work of specialists at the Halvar Johnson Centre for Brain Injury in Ponoka. “I owe them everything because without them I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” said Amanda.

She went through a series of recovery steps, which included the use of the Dynavision 2000 and other therapy tools and techniques. “In the end it helped me a lot.”

In the first few months of recovery, Amanda was told that in order for her to be able to eat on her own, doctors wanted her to speak. So that’s what she did, said Nicole. At first in little whispers and then more.

Another milestone for Amanda came when she had struggles with her left hand. Amanda’s left arm had tremors that made it difficult to function but her right side didn’t move. Nicole said Amanda made a conscious effort to move her right arm.

“She started doing that and her right side started doing well,” explained Nicole.

Amanda was also a hockey athlete with the Lacoka Minor Hockey league and part of her recovery is attributed to her athletic strength but also to her young age.

Specialists have told the family that with these milestones, the brain is creating new neural pathways.

Had it not been for Nicole and Randy’s close involvement, Amanda’s situation might have been different. Her parents were closely involved in her recovery from the time of the collision.

They spent hours and days with Amanda speaking to doctors, specialists and nurses. They advocated for her needs to ensure the best decisions were made for her health care in discussion with the specialists.

For Amanda’s part, while she continues to recover, there are days where it seems like an endless road. And then someone points out how far she has come since the collision, which helps with her motivation.

Amanda is now 19 and recovery continues to be a big part of her life.

She has started to document her journey through a series of videos and a search on YouTube of ‘Amanda Burt’ brings up those videos. A recent upload has garnered more than 4,000 views.

Amanda’s dream is to also run a marathon and to start a fundraising run for STARS. “They basically saved my life and I kind of feel like I owe them a lot.”

While the collision changed the family’s life in a major way, Amanda and her parents continue to show a focus on improvement and each day has been better than the last.

Amanda’s goal is to get into college to study early learning and childcare.

jeff.heyden-kaye@ponokanews.com

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Most Read