Two months ago McKinley Blue suffered a traumatic brain injury after the car she was in was rear ended by a pickup at 172nd and Q Street. After spending two weeks at Children's Hospital in a medically induced coma, McKinley was moved to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals, Omaha campus.
After learning to walk and talk again McKinley was able to walk out of the facility and go home with her family. The little girl was all smiles as family and staff sang Happy Birthday to her, a day before her fifth birthday.
There were also cupcakes, polka-dot balloons and a present. The Madonna staff also presented McKinley with a spirit award, which is given to patients who demonstrate courage and resilience on their road to recovery. Speech therapist Cait Scott describes McKinley as a spunky girl who has come a long way in a short time, “She’s up dancing and moving and often has a smile on her face.”
Scott also credits McKinley's family, especially ten year old sister Miley for her rapid progress. "She has been here every step of the way." McKinley and her sister wore matching pink helmets and black leggings. Miley says she won't take her helmet off until her sister is able to able to take hers off.
“I wanted her to feel like she was beautiful,” Miley says. She talked about how she kept encouraging McKinley during her therapy sessions.
"After this you can play. You're so close, you're almost done. I love you and even though it's hard, your going to get it."
Miley says she is very proud of McKinley's progress. "It's just incredible. I just love how much she's recovered because I know I'm going to have my little sister back. She loves me just so much and I love her just so much."
McKinley will continue to receive outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy at Madonna. She will also undergo several surgeries to replace the piece of her skull that was removed.
This fall she will attend kindergarten and be in the same school as her sister.