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Thank you for keeping Ellen in your thoughts and prayers.
On Monday night, August 3, Ellen was in a car accident. Ellen turned 18 on July 18, just graduated high school and was going to Heidelberg University on a softball scholarship. Ellen was staying with Kay, a friend from her traveling softball team in Champion, OH. Kay was going to catch for Ellen at a Tuesday morning practice. At around 11 pm they decided to go to Taco Bell and Wal-Mart with a friend of Kay's named Christie. Forty-five minutes later they were on their way home, Ellen was in the backseat, Kay in the front passenger and Christie was driving. Kay says that she was turned around talking to Ellen when she saw Ellen's eyes get as big as saucers. Kay turned to look frontward and she saw trees in their path as they veered off the road. Kay tried to grab the steering wheel but the car hit first one tree and then another. Christie Manchester (the driver) was killed immediately. Kay called her Mom from her cell from within the car. Her mom arrived on the scene at the same time as emergency crews. It is important to note that none of the girls were wearing seatbelts.
Ellen suffered a fractured neck, broken pelvis, dislocated hip, a severe laceration to the back of her head, and bruising to the brain and spine. She was flight evacuated to the best trauma hospital in the area (St Elizabeth's of Youngstown) which is where she is still. They don’t yet know how extensive the injuries are to the brain and spine. The first thing they needed to do was to take away flexibility of her neck so that the pressure is off of the spine. Then they need to wait to allow the brain and spinal bruising to heal.
On Wednesday, August 5, Ellen had surgery to achieve the stabilization of her neck with a bone graft from a vertebra and with the insertion of some metal rods. The surgery was successful. That same day Kay was released from the hospital. Ellen has been in a self-induced coma. They told us that the three weeks following the surgery would be the first big hurdle as she is prone to infection and pneumonia. She has had pneumonia; her right lung has collapsed twice. They gave her medication to paralyze her for a couple of days forcing her body to fully rest and allowing her lung to heal. She is off that medication now and the lung is better. It has been 18 days since the accident; 16 days since the surgery.
Ellen does not yet know what has happened. In a best case scenario, according to her doctors, she will be confined to a wheelchair and after a long recovery, she may be otherwise well-functioning. They have also shared that the worst case scenario could mean that she would be quadriplegic and reliant on breathing and feeding tubes. We say all this-- but we are optimistic that the best case scenario will be better than projected by her doctors at this point. They certainly want us to be prepared for the worst. We also want to be hopeful for the best.
If Ellen had been wearing a seat belt her injuries would have been much less extensive.
Ellen’s friends have been amazing. A facebook cause has been started called ‘Buckle Up for Becker’ by one of her friends- http://apps.facebook.com/causes/329295/13130853?m=6d54c0aa#. There have been prayer services and vigils, bracelets and bumper stickers, volleyball tournaments and car washes...all instigated by her friends.
The hope: Ellen is strong, an athlete, a fighter, and a very disciplined individual with an extremely sunny disposition. If there is someone who can face what she has ahead of her and turn the situation into a surmountable challenge...it is Ellen.
Please continue to keep Ellen in your thoughts and prayers.