Cheerleader recovers after horrific wreck that caused brain injuries — “100 percent is a miracle”

Published 12:40 am Friday, February 3, 2023

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BRIDGE CITY — Addison Minter’s return to high school just over two months after suffering a traumatic brain injury shows her tenacity and will to get back to a normal life.

Her mother, Amy Minter, described her a bit differently — though she agrees her daughter is a fighter.

“She 100 percent is a miracle,” Amy said.

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The crash

The family’s lives were forever changed on Nov. 19. They were on Beltway 8 in Houston headed home from a private stunting lesson at All-Star Revolution when their vehicle hydroplaned before being rear-ended by a charter bus that was going 75 miles an hour, Amy said.

Addison’s injuries were the most severe. She had a left temporal skull fracture; her brain shifted to the right. She had three different brain bleeds, the orbital area around her right eye was completely fractured, her right cheekbone was fractured, she had a Grade 1 lacerated spleen and a pulmonary contusion.

Addison was life flighted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, and on Dec. 7 was transferred to The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

“She was only in rehab for two weeks and two days,” the mother said.

Stacey Hall is the clinical professor of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and also the medical director of pediatric rehabilitation Medicine at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Hall said when Addison first arrived at the hospital she was essentially fighting for her life. The Glascow Coma Scale, which tabulates the severity of a person’s level of consciousness after a brain injury, was at the lowest.

“They intubated her right away to save her life,” Hall said.

Scans showed Addison did not need surgery. She stayed in acute care for a few weeks.

Addison was agitated, confused and having a rough time.

But this changed.


Addison did not spend a lot of time at TIRR.

“She was only with us about 2.5 weeks,” Hall said. “It’s amazing for someone with a brain injury as severe as hers. She made remarkable progress.”

When Hall first met with her at TIRR, Addison was able to move all four limbs but had serious problems with balance and coordination, no safety awareness and impulsiveness.

“She kept motivated and she worked really, really hard,” Hall said, adding that Addison went through intensive therapy for three to five hours every single day.

Addison went through several types of therapy and worked on her fine motor skills and coordination. For the most part, she had to learn to walk again, how to put on clothes, shower, eat and drink. She needed speech therapy as well help with things such as thinking, learning and communicating.

Hall said she was constantly working on her rehabilitation.

Addison was released from TIRR on Dec. 23. By that time she was able to walk all over the hospital and her balance had improved. There was still some cognitive deficit in the mild- to moderate-range.

“It was wonderful to see her journey from a very brain injured person to seeing her bright, sparkling personality shine through,” Hall said. “She’s fun, bright, active. It’s nice to see this come through.”

A miracle

Amy is a nurse, which, she said, was a blessing and a curse because she knew how bad her daughter’s injuries were — and how bad they could have been.

“I didn’t leave her side for five weeks.  It was an emotional roller coaster for me. I couldn’t be proud of her,” she said. “Everybody in cheer would say ‘she’s tiny but mighty.’ That 110 percent describes her. She’s a fighter.”

Addison said her motivation for healing came from her desire to see her boyfriend and family.

“I’m feeling good. So much better,” Addison said of being back in school.

As cheerleader Addison took part in University Interscholastic League competitions. And while she wasn’t able to fully participate due to being in recovery from her injuries, she was able to be with the squad when they earned sixth place in Texas 4A Division II competition.

Amy said her daughter was there with the team, and “right now she can cheer as far as yelling and arm motions and jumps.

“She has always been a flyer (in cheer), little bitty,” the mother said. “But she can’t fly or tumble for at least a year from the day of the accident. In that timeframe if she were to fall it would be detrimental.”

After the one year timeframe passes and Addison is released from the restrictions, it will be up to her and her parents to make the decision on whether she will go back to full cheer.

The future

Addison is back in high school taking a full schedule and regular classes. She is healing well but still gets tired, she said.

Addison is an honor roll student and only missed about three weeks of school as the crash and hospitalization happened close to Thanksgiving break. She had already gotten all of her grades in for that six-week period, her mom said.

On Jan. 28 the Bridge City High School student was crowned the Winter Formal Queen.

And she’s on track to graduate this year.

After graduation Addison plans to attend Blinn College to become a dental hygienist and cheer there, she said.

“I feel like I would be good at it,” Addison said. “I’m patient and good with people and kids. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for years now.”