1. An Omaha teen is recovering at home after an accident nearly took his life. Jackson Koch, 15, was skateboarding in early March with friends close to home when he hit some loose gravel and fell off the board. The bump on his head swelled to the size of a baseball. What was thought to be a minor concussion turned into the fight for his life. Thanks to quick response from friends, parents and the Nebraska Medicine trauma team along with #Prayer Warriors for Jackson, today he's able to walk out of therapy at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Check out his amazing story of recovery.


    Jackson Koch is navigating his way around a pet store with a clear objective in mind. “I have to five animals and the price of them," he said. The outing is part of his therapy at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. “What did we find while we were there. Can you remember the street we took to get there. All those components of going out and about that you don’t really think about until it’s hard to do,” said Kelly Meyers, occupational therapist for Madonna. Jackson is getting is sense of direction back after an accident in early March resulted in a broken neck and a traumatic brain injury. "It’s surreal when you think back. They were telling us basically what we think is a minor concussion was an extremely life threatening injury,” says Jessica Koch, Jackson's mother.

    Jackson was out with friends. Skateboarding close to home on a familiar route when he fell hard. “I hit loose gravel with my long board and fell and hit my head a couple of times,” said Jackson.

    Quick response by Jackson’s friends, his parents and the paramedics had Jackson at Nebraska Medicine in record time. “He was barely hanging on. He was unresponsive, he was barely breathing. He was paralyzed. The doc said we can let him go peacefully or we can try surgery,” said Jessica. The Kochs chose surgery to relieve the bleeding and swelling on the left side of his brain. For younger brother, Nate, it was tough. He’s rushed in brain surgery and like, a couple days later, he’s on the verge of death, like basically was in rough shape. We prayed a lot, didn’t we? Hmmm.”

    Turns out others were praying for Jackson too through the help of the Facebook page #Prayer Warriors for Jackson. ”Pretty soon it was 100,000 shares that were praying for our son. Every day he was making miraculous steps toward recovery. Even though we felt helpless, we didn’t feel hopeless.”

    The accident damaged the part of his brain that controls memory and speech. Doctors were unsure what he would remember when he woke up. Recalls Nate, “When he was a little more responsive, his friend came in. They have a secret handshake and he’s like, ‘Jackson, do the secret handshake.’ And he did the whole thing spot on.”

    Jackson continued to improve, amazing both the trauma team and his parents. By day 13, Jackson came to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and continues to make strides. “Everyone was so loving and caring. They cared about our whole family and getting Jackson rehabilitated, not just to come home as a disabled child, but as the Jackson that we knew,” said Jessica.

    Jackson has this advice: “Wear your helmet. I wasn’t into wearing my helmet before because I think it looks kind of dumb, but like I will now for sure because I don’t want to go through this ever again.”

    “We didn’t need anything more than prayers and we could feel our prayers were being answered,” said Jessica.

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  2. Nate Harrison’s back at home in Kansas City, Missouri, after a motorcycle accident in December nearly took his life. He lost his right leg and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Throughout his recovery—initially at Research Medical Center in KC and later at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital—his fighting spirit and faith have helped him reach medical milestones. Along the way, tight-knit family and friends, fellow KC law enforcement and even strangers have also provided a generous outpouring of support.

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  3. Ryan Brock jokes he’s in a friendly competition with his 14-month-old son. "He’s only walking two or three steps at a time and I’m walking hundreds of steps at a time," says Brock. All kidding aside, one of the 29-year-old’s goals is learning how to walk correctly after suffering a traumatic brain injury in late December. He was driving his pickup north of Columbus, Nebraska when slick roads caused him to collide with a manure spreader outside of town. Firefighters and paramedics used the Jaws of Life to cut him out of his vehicle. Soon after, he was flown to Nebraska Medicine for emergency surgery. Just one day after waking up, Brock was communicating, much to the surprise of his trauma team. “The doctor and nurses were flabbergasted when I started writing full words and sentences as soon as they could move the paper in front of me,” recalls Brock.

    One inside the walls of Madonna, Brock continued to progress rapidly with his specialized therapy program. His positive attitude along with the combination of speech, occupational and physical therapy has helped him make huge strides in his recovery. “The more effort I put in the harder they’ll drive to make sure I keep getting better faster.”

    In addition, specialized equipment like the Ekso and FES bike are helping to regain function in his left arm and leg. Brock is now back home with his family and looking forward to start the Madonna Outpatient Rehabilitation Day Program. As for the bet with Levi, “I’m still kind of teasing him that I’m beating him, but he’s giving me a real run for my money.”

    # vimeo.com/159850506 Uploaded 2,269 Plays 0 Comments
  4. A South Dakota over-the-road truck driver fell on the job 1,200 miles from his home. Rodney Guthmiller was preparing to unload his trailer on Jan. 13 in Jerome, Idaho, when he fell, suffering a traumatic brain injury. He was airlifted to the nearest trauma hospital and stabilized before coming to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for his recovery. See his remarkable journey and the support from his employer, family and friends.

    # vimeo.com/156884879 Uploaded 1,661 Plays 0 Comments
  5. Geraldo Cervantes Alvarado walks 80-feet with the help of his physical therapy team, after being shot in the head just before Thanksgiving. The 24-year-old from Marshalltown, Iowa was lifeflighted to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. There the trauma team worked quickly to save his life. “When I woke up from my coma and the nurses saw me talking, they were amazed.” With two small children at home, Alvarado is working hard at recovery to get back home. “I want to be there for my kids and be a better dad."

    # vimeo.com/156028937 Uploaded 1,483 Plays 0 Comments

Brain Injury

Madonna’s Brain Injury Program is comprehensive, providing a wide array of services including physical, occupational, speech, respiratory, recreational and nutritional therapies, rehabilitation psychology, case management, social work services, spiritual…

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Madonna’s Brain Injury Program is comprehensive, providing a wide array of services including physical, occupational, speech, respiratory, recreational and nutritional therapies, rehabilitation psychology, case management, social work services, spiritual services and orthotics/prosthetics as needed. In addition to these specialties, rehabilitation nursing and access to a physician with training in physical medicine and rehabilitation is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week on an inpatient basis.

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