JD is a remarkable young man from the Austin area. He is an amazing example of strength and courage to everyone around him. The following is a letter written by his mother to the staff of the new school he is attending this year.
On October 11, 2008, JD was involved in a terrible near drowning accident in our family hot tub. It is still unknown how the accident happened in such a short amount of time. The hot tub is just over 3 ft deep and JD who was 5 ft tall at the time was a very strong swimmer. John (Dad) removed JD from the hot tub and began CPR while calling 911. The EMS team was responsible for restarting JD’s heart and breathing for him. As a result of the accident JD has suffered an Anoxic Brain Injury. Anoxia is loss of oxygen to the brain and is different from Traumatic Brain Injury, which is usually due to trauma to a portion of the brain. Anoxia covers more like a blanket, not just a single area. JD has made tremendous strides since that day that changed our lives forever.
Before the accident, JD was active in soccer, school, and church. JD loves school, his friends, and Texas Longhorns and is a special kid. JD has 3 sisters, Macy (14 yrs), Catherine (11yrs), and Clare (6 yrs), who love him dearly. As a family we are doing all we can to ensure JD has the very best opportunity to make a full recovery. He received umbilical cord stem cells in November of 2009 in San Diego. We started seeing results from those in 5 weeks and still continue to see vast improvement. The school system, community and our church family have been wonderful. We are grateful for every kind word of encouragement, prayer and unselfish act that we have received.
Today, JD undergoes extensive physical, occupational therapy along with various other treatments. The injury has left JD with extreme tone and spasticity in his muscles-his body is very tight with his arms, wrists and feet at fixed positions. JD is confined to a wheelchair for now and he is fed through a g-tube in his abdomen. It is important to note, that JD “knows what is going on” in the environment around him. He responds as best he can, with the limitations his body has. JD hears, listens, and takes in more than we could imagine. JD’s peers and classmates make his school life a wonderful component of his recovery. Talking to him like he is one of the class, or just saying hi when they see him encourages him greatly. JD loves to smile and will give you a big one when he is happy.
In closing, our family is grateful for having our son with us today. We have found a new life in him and our faith holds us up each day. We believe JD will make a remarkable recovery, it will just be a slow process and in God’s perfect timing. Our hope is to help those around us better understand this type of injury and recovery process and better communicate what has happened and is happening with JD. We have a website for JD’s recovery that we update frequently if you would like to visit: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jdhartman.