By Jodi Schellenberg, The Prince Albert Daily Herald
First published on June 23, 2014
SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA | After experiencing a brain injury herself, Emilia Becker decided to share her story with others to raise awareness.
Becker came to Prince Albert to bring awareness to Brain Injury Awareness Month and spoke to city council about her own experiences.
Although you wouldn’t know to look at her, Becker was in an accident when she was only 11 years old.
The school bus she was riding at her hometown near Regina ran the yield side, hitting a Canadian Pacific Railway vehicle, causing the bus the flip and hit the opposite ditch.
Emilia Becker, a brain injury survivor, came into Prince Albert
to talk to city council about brain injury awareness.
“I actually don’t remember the day of the accident or three months prior,” Becker said. “I remember waking up in a truck and asking what happened and I remember waking up in the hospital and being asked to draw a straight line but I couldn’t do that.”
She received some physical injuries as well as a diffuse axonal injury, which is a type of moderate brain injury.
Not all brain injuries have the same symptoms — Becker had physical, intellectual and emotional symptoms.
Becker said one of her physical symptoms was related to her right side, which was partially impacted and her right foot would turn in as she walked.
“I also lost a lot of memory,” she said. “I couldn’t do math to the same level as I could before, I forgot all of my Spanish and my French and I couldn’t read at the same level as I could before.”
To work on her physical symptoms they used reciprocal motion to relearn some skills.
They found her a bike to ride in the winter to retrain her brain to do some reciprocal motion activities that used to be fluid and intuitive.
“What used to be natural had to be relearned, such as actions like running and throwing,” Becker said.
In addition, she was an A-plus student before the accident, involved in activities such as tap, jazz, ballet, Girl Guides and voice lessons — all of which changed overnight.
“I was somewhat embarrassed to have an injury like this and not be able to do any of the activities I could before,” Becker said. “Eventually I came to the point where I realized that just because you have an injury doesn’t mean that you’re any worse of a person or worse off.
“You can relearn things and you can do things in a different way if not in the same way as before,” she added. “You can retrain your brain and you can learn new ways to do things.”
Read the rest of this inspiring story by visiting The Prince Albert Daily Herald.