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Amazing Grace

Caroline Purtell

When Amy Douglas walked into her student teaching seminar in 2000, she recognized several familiar faces, but couldn’t attach any names to them. Three months earlier, a car accident left her in a coma for seven days and with the effects of traumatic brain injury. Fortunately, she recovered at a quicker pace than most, and after a month-long stay in the hospital, she was ready to return to Xavier to finish her M.Ed.

“I simply needed to finish what I had started,” Douglas says. “The encouragement was there, the support—I wanted to get my life back on a somewhat familiar track.”

Against her doctor’s advice, and unable to drive due to recurring seizures, the 36-year-old mother of four relied on her husband and parents to transport her to class—often scheduled back-to-back on Saturdays—and to student teaching assignments. Douglas, who graduated in May, now says she wants to work with adults who have suffered traumatic brain injury.

“I am truly moved by the work being done in the area of adult learning disabilities and, most specifically, the pursuit of higher education by these adults,” she says.

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