Virginia Beach teen fights back after traumatic brain injury

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A teenage girl from Virginia Beach is fighting back after a traumatic brain injury, and the community is helping her.

Carrie Triepel describes her daughter as kind, encouraging to others and fierce.

Sedonia Triepel

She said 17-year-old Sedonia attended First Colonial High School, was taking five AP courses, got straight A's, participated on the crew team, the cross country team, joined debate and was involved in her church youth group.

She said her daughter is known to be inclusive towards others and saw baking as a form of therapy.

In December 2018, Sedonia was driving near the intersection of River Road and North Great Neck Road when she T-boned with another car.

Her 13-year-old sister heard the crash, along with neighbors who came to help her.

Carrie described the intersection her mom calls problematic.

Traffic is going way too fast. Nobody goes 45 mph,” said Carrie. “You’re really playing a real-life game of Frogger trying to cross the street.”

Carrie said her daughter has undergone 15 surgeries.

She said she has been receiving treatment at the Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehab facility in Atlanta.

Last week, Carrie got a call that changed everything – Sedonia's condition had improved.

Sedonia was supposed to come home from rehab within the next few days, but she now will stay at the facility for more treatment because of her improved condition, according to her mom.

She said Sedonia's condition was minimally conscious, but she now has improved to where she can answer "yes" and "no" questions consistently.

“I’m now thinking she might be able to walk before she comes home,” said Carrie. “Just overjoyed. Words cannot describe it.”

Related: A former Suffolk high school teacher's battle with massive brain tumors

Carrie said school board member Victoria Manning has spearheaded a fundraiser for their family. They are raising money for a specialized van that Sedonia will use when she comes home.

The event is Sunday, August 18,  from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hot Tuna Bar and Grill located at 2871 Shore Drive in Virginia Beach.

Carrie is a mother of four and a hand surgeon. She spends her time traveling back and forth to Atlanta to visit Sedonia.

“As much as I am a mom and a surgeon, I want to fix my daughter, but I can’t. I have to allow others to do it, so when I can help others, that really gives me an immense sense of satisfaction.”

She said her family is very optimistic for Sedonia and is grateful for the way the community has come together to help them.

Click here for more information about event.

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