May 24 marks the 14th anniversary of Tina Ratay’s car accident. On May 24, 2002, at the young age of 20, Tina was driving to pick up her step mom’s Jeep Cherokee for a fun Memorial Day weekend at a local campground. She was looking forward to spending time with her family and best friend when her car was T-boned by a delivery truck and slid about 150 yards down the road. Police arrived first and found Tina unresponsive.
Tina’s physical injuries boiled down to a few scratches, but the worst injury could not be seen. She sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and time was not on her side. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Pittsburgh and was functioning at a low level.
After spending four weeks in the hospital, Tina was taken to HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital. Tina’s TBI resulted in paralysis on her left side. She also experienced aphasia, a disorder acquired following her accident that affected her ability to speak and comprehend. Even though she was not aware of what was happening due to the low function of her brain, HealthSouth Harmarville staff was able to use lifts and braces to get Tina up and learning to walk again.
Fifty-three days after her accident, Tina woke up from her coma and spoke to her mom for the first time. Nurses were notified and gathered in her room to celebrate.
“Everyone was so encouraging and caring,” said Tina.
Tina continued her rehabilitation another five weeks at HealthSouth Harmarville in intense speech, occupational and physical therapy. Her goal was to walk without assistance and be independent. On August 19, 2002, Tina was released to go back home and continue outpatient therapy. Now at the age of 34, Tina is wife to Jeremy and mom to three-year-old Olivia and manages her family’s home.
“Fourteen years later I don’t think I would have recovered if I hadn’t come to HealthSouth Harmarville,” said Tina. “If I had been put in a nursing home, how would I have witnessed other people doing so well? I’m so thankful my family got me there and that I had the professional help of those at HealthSouth Harmarville that did amazing things.”