SALISBURY — A Triton Regional High School student in a coma since Aug. 26, after the scooter she was riding on was struck by a truck in Rochester, N.H., has regained consciousness and is grasping the hands of her family.
Sixteen-year-old Taylor Brown of Salisbury was riding on the back of scooter driven by her cousin, Emily Zeimetz, when it was struck by a large truck as they were traveling through an intersection on Route 125 in Rochester. Zeimetz was transported to an area hospital with injuries to her shoulder that were not life-threatening. But Taylor's condition was more serious, and she was airlifted to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, with critical head injuries.
According to family member Pam Rodgers, Taylor awoke from her coma Thursday and is now able to communicate with her parents, Brian and Kim Brown.
"It's clearly a long road of recovery, but I'm sure she'll get there," Rodgers said yesterday.
Rodgers said Taylor is able to hold the hands of her family as well as offer the thumbs-up sign.
"We're very excited about that," Rodgers said.
In an email sent to family and friends, Rodgers wrote that Taylor is also able to blink on command and grabbed her father's shirt several times. Taylor remains in guarded condition, as the left side of her brain still has some swelling, but the right side of her brain is healing.
"Thank you for all your prayers. Please don't stop. God still has much healing to do in her," Rodgers wrote in an email.
As Taylor lay in a coma, her Triton classmates transformed her locker into a massive mailbox. Friends, family and others have been depositing cards, letters and other forms of well-wishes inside the locker. The correspondence has been picked up by Taylor's family and then read to her in the hospital.
In addition to being a honor student at Triton, Taylor is a standout swimmer and competes regularly, Rodgers said.
Almost immediately after the accident, Taylor's boyfriend, Brendan, created a Facebook group: Support for Taylor Brown. So far, hundreds of people have signed up for the group and have left scores of prayers and well-wishes.
The reality of a long recovery for Taylor has inspired the creation of the Taylor Brown Family Fund to help relieve the family's financial burden. Donations in Taylor's name can be dropped off or mailed to any area Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank branch.
So far, donations have been flooding in, but more help would of great assistance to the family, Rodgers said.
"So many people have donated and supported the family in so many ways," Rodgers said.
Those wishing to post notes and leave well-wishes for Taylor can also visit the Maine Medical Center's website at mmm.org. Click on "Patient and Visitors," and then "Send a Patient a Greeting."