Brittany Holocher often describes her life in two chapters. There’s the one she lived prior to April 10, 2017…
“I had my bachelor’s degree. I danced on the NBA D-League team [the Madame Ants] for four and a half years before I moved to California for two years. When I came back to Fort Wayne, I had a good group of friends and a full-time job, so things were going really well.”
Then there’s the life she’s lived since that date; a life full of challenges and struggles, but one she says she wouldn’t trade for anything.
April 10 was a typical Monday. She’d put in a long day as a financial services professional at WestPoint Financial.
“I remember specific events from that day, like at work, but I don’t remember leaving to drive home. I’m told we had monsoon-like rain that night, so I must’ve hydroplaned on the highway,” says Holocher.
The next six weeks were erased from her memory, as she remained hospitalized recovering from the severe injuries she received in the crash. To this day, Holocher doesn’t remember anything about what happened. She was told later by EMS workers that when they pulled her from the wreckage that night, they didn’t expect her to survive. The biggest immediate concern was a head injury.
“They said that because of the swelling, if they didn’t do surgery — a craniectomy — right away, then I wouldn’t make it,” Holocher recalls. “My jaw was also broken on both sides, so I had jaw surgery. Both of my legs were broken and one of them they had to do surgery on, and I have metal in my leg now.”
As much as possible, she hasn’t let the injuries slow her down. She returned to work and to the gym, determined to stay active and healthy. There have been roadblocks along the way, though. Since those initial operations, Holocher has undergone three more. In June of 2017, just a few months after the accident, doctors had to replace the piece of skull they’d removed in the first surgery.
“Then in September, 18 days after they released me to run, I did the Fort4Fitness 10K. I remember when I first tried to start running it was awkward. I felt like I was a newborn trying to walk. I could run maybe 20 feet, limping. But I kept practicing the whole time. I didn’t set any speed records, but I ran the whole 10K and finished,” she says proudly.
By then, Holocher was also dealing with some vision problems and went to an eye specialist, who discovered she had an orbital fracture.
“The eye surgery was in December of 2017. I was thinking that was it. But then in July of last year I noticed a dent in my head and I right away was thinking of one of the complications that was possible. I had a CT scan and it was what I thought, something called bone flap reabsorption. It’s basically my body rejecting my own bone that they put back in.”
In November, she underwent her third surgery in just a year and a half during which doctors repaired her skull using titanium mesh.
Holocher has begun to feel like her old self again but admits that her left side is still weaker than her right and she sometimes has issues with balance and coordination. The positive outlook she’s always had is serving her well in as she begins to write a third chapter in her life. She’s considering a new career as a flight attendant, combining her love of travel with serving others.
She knows her attitude, determination and outlook have played a significant role in her recovery.
“I look at it as, ‘What other choice do you have than to be positive?’ Everything happens for a reason. If I can motivate anyone or inspire anyone from all of this, then it’s worth it,” Holocher says. “It sounds a little crazy, but I realize how lucky I was. Things could’ve been so much worse. It’s been a long journey with everything, but this kind of feels like the final piece. Like I can close this chapter of my life and move on.”