Senior in Near Fatal Wreck Makes Miraculous Recovery
A wreck like Jeremy Brunette’s usually takes years to recover from, and most people never do. But Jeremy did it in nine weeks and doctors are calling it a miracle.
Just a few months after moving to Wylie, Senior Jeremy Brunette and his uncle, Joe Arion, were involved in a severe car accident on the way to school. A semi-truck, traveling over 50 miles an hour, ran into the side of his car and totaled it.
Jeremy’s mom, aunt, and cousin were escorted by firemen to the scene as soon as they got there. They waited and prayed as Joe and Jeremy remained trapped in the car, waiting for responders to get them out. Joe held his nephew’s head up so he could breathe, ultimately saving his life. Emergency care rushed to the scene, and Jeremy was air-lifted to the SICU at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Jeremy’s friends had a shock when they heard. The news spread around the school quickly. Everyone held their breath in hopes that Jeremy would be okay as they waited for the details on the crash.
While in a coma, Jeremy was diagnosed with severe DAI, or diffuse axonal injury, similar to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Over 90% of those diagnosed with DAI don’t wake up, and those who do remain significantly impaired. He also had seven broken ribs, a contused lung, lacerated liver, facial fractures, an ear wound and tiny spinous process fractures in his back.
Joe, who suffered from six broken ribs, was able to go home after less than a week. Fluid was later discovered in his lungs, resulting in several follow-up surgeries. His determination helped him recover to the level he has.
Jeremy remained unconscious for seven days in the hospital, but then he woke up.
Just as his mom was deciding between caring for him at home or leaving him in the hospital with mounting medical bills, Jeremy miraculously opened his eyes.
“It was like God gave me a wink to give me continued hope,” mother Teri Brunette said. “I was thrilled.”
Cognitive tests were immediately performed, and although his eyes wouldn’t follow a pencil, he wiggled his toes as a way of saying ‘yes’ when asked questions. The news of Jeremy’s remarkably fast recovery spread around the school just as fast as news of the accident, with everyone rooting him on.
Jeremy continued to radically improve, after a week and a half he was moved to inpatient rehab at HealthSouth Plano, and three weeks after the accident, he was discharged from inpatient rehab. The speed of his recovery was almost unheard of for someone who wasn’t even expected to wake up. This meant that he was able to spend his 18th birthday with his family.
Jeremy joined the WISD Homebound program, Wylie’s homeschool plan, in hopes of catching up with his classmates and graduating with them. He was itching to get back as soon as possible but homeschool was needed so he could continue attending outpatient therapy. He has improved so much that most of his cognitive abilities test at 12th grade or above.
“The hardest part of the whole thing was regaining my coordination,” Jeremy said. “Right after the wreck I couldn’t even eat very well because I didn’t even know where my hand was. It’s finally back, but that was the hardest part.”
While studying, more and more distractions were introduced to his study time to simulate being at school. He conditioned his brain to the learning environment so that he would be able to learn when he came back. Nine weeks after his wreck Jeremy was able to return to school.
“It was miraculous that he has made this great recovery,” principal Virdie Montgomery said. “I believe WHS responded to this because that is who we are. We are a family melded together with values and we care.”
Wylie High School made a 15 ft. long poster and sent tons of cards for Jeremy throughout his recovery. He always had one of the most decorated rooms, with cards sent in from as far away as Australia and most sent from friends in Wisconsin and Texas, but Jeremy says his mom is what made everything bearable.
“Having my mom there at in patient therapy was helpful, because everyone else there was so much older so my family really got me through it,” Jeremy said. “I’m fully recovered except for the brain damage, and that’s just going to take time.”
Everyone is thrilled to have Jeremy back at school but most of all astonished at the speed of his recovery. Now he’s looking forward to graduating with his class and enjoying the rest of his life.
“My personal biggest hope for Jeremy is that he realizes he is much-loved by God and us and that we are here for him,” Teri said. “Yes, youth is on his side, but this is a miracle.”