Westchester teen makes amazing recovery after brain injury from motorcycle crash

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Teen makes amazing recovery after brain injury from motorcycle crash
A Westchester high school senior made a miraculous recovery after a motorcycle accident last summer.

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, Westchester County (WABC) -- A Westchester high school student who has made a miraculous recovery after a motorcycle accident last summer is getting ready to finish his senior year.

Rahul Krishnan was preparing to enter his senior year at Briarcliff High School last August when he lost control of his motorcycle while biking with friends.

The 18-year-old suffered a very severe traumatic brain injury.

In fact, he was in a minimally conscious state when he was admitted to Blythedale Children's Hospital just one month later.

Once Rahul began to emerge from his state, he began participating in intensive physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapies to help build his strength and cognition.

For the last five months, he has amazed his doctors.

"There's a lot of people who will have severe brain injuries who will come back to this level of function," said Dr. William Watson with Blythedale Children's Hospital. "But the speed that he did it, and how severe he was at the beginning to where he was able to walk out of our hospital, talking, eating, walking, all of these skills that he had gotten back, is pretty remarkable."

Rahul admits it was speed and danger he was drawn to. He admits he was going too fast when he crashed the motorcycle and that it was a bad habit.

"I went at a pretty bad speed, every single time, and I'm not proud of what I did," Krishnan said.

But he is proud of what he's done since then.

At Bythedale Children's hospital, which has a full school for young patients getting all kinds of rehab therapies, every part of his brain and body has had so much to re-learn.

"In my mind, it's playing as if I'm doing it, but physically, it's not happening, so it was really frustrating," Krishnan said.

"It takes a whole team of people," Watson said. "No one expert is able to get someone with this severe of a brain injury back. He needed physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, medical teams, psychologists."

Rahul also credits his mom who has stayed by his side and documented his journey.

He celebrated his 18th birthday in the hospital. As he gets ready to return to his own high school and graduate this year, Rahul has learned a lot from being forced to slow down.

"A lot of people take things for granted and they don't realize like, it's a real danger that can happen at any moment," Krishnan said. "So, if you ride bikes, don't speed."

Rahul says his plan after going back to school next week is to take a year off to continue building on the progress he's made and then go to college for nursing to help others -- using all he's learned about recovery.

Blythedale is a longtime leader in the treatment of children with severe brain injuries. The hospital's 18-bed Traumatic Brain Injury Unit is the only dedicated post-acute pediatric brain injury unit in New York State.

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