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Traumatic Brain Injury: Amy's story

"A whole bunch of people started popping up talking about St. Camillus," said Bill, who served 10 years as the Fayetteville-Manlius High School vice principal until 1981.

Amy was admitted to St. Camillus on Feb. 4, 2005. Staff began treatment -- physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy -- the very next day.

"Walk, talk, eat -- those were my goals," Amy said.

She achieved them in less than a year and literally walked out the doors on June 30.

She spent another two years as an outpatient at St. Camillus, attending exercise classes three times a week.

Consequently, Rankin suffers from memory loss -- she doesn't remember anything about the accident, nor does she recall events that took place up to three years before. She's just now able to recognize herself in pictures. She's improving her balance and also takes singing lessons to strengthen her voice.

"Her soft palette in the back of her mouth doesn't shut down when she wants to talk as opposed to when she wants to breathe," Bill said. "She has trouble getting air out of her mouth when she talks. It comes through her nose."

Prior to the accident, Amy played the clarinet, involved herself in clubs and was a natural athlete who ran track and played basketball and field hockey.

"I was busy," she said.

During alumnae weekend at Dickenson College, she played a game of field hockey with the permission of her physical therapist, Kathy Walsh -- so long as she wore a helmet.

"It was awesome," she said enthusiastically. "I miss it."

In spite of her physical limitations and continuous therapies, Amy still keeps active. She is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and takes aerobic classes twice a week.

Since July, she has been writing an autobiography she hopes to have published so she can help other families dealing with similar situations.

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