Patient Stories

"Stuff happens. You can't control it, but you can control how you deal with it."

Courtney King Dye
Brain Injury Patient


To be an Olympic athlete takes great skill, determination and perseverance. Rehabilitation requires the same qualities.

For Courtney King Dye, an equestrian who competed at the 2008 Beijing games, a riding accident put that in perspective. She was training a show horse when he suddenly slipped. They both went down and Courtney landed under the horse, fracturing her skull. She wasn't wearing a helmet.

Diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, she remained in a coma for nearly a month. She then entered Kessler's specialized Severe Disorders of Consciousness Program at our Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation and slowly, surely and miraculously began to emerge.

However, it seemed to her that no matter how hard she tried, there was little improvement in her mobility, speech and cognitive abilities. "I felt like the tortoise in this race," Courtney says. "But I knew that the only way to finish is to start."

She worked tirelessly and began to regain the strengths that had made her an elite athlete. She also participated in a unique program at nearby Starlight Farms, where riding helped to reinforceher balance, proprioception and communication skills.

Her goal is not only to train and show horses again, but to return to international dressage where her presence is already being felt. Because of her accident, riders who traditionally have worn elegant top hats are now competing in helmets.

Learn more about Kessler's Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program.

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