The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Teen stuns all with comeback

Peter Kim
People gathered for a fundraiser for Bella at Old Brick Church on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Bella have recovered from brain trauma caused by her car accident. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

By Kaylyn Kluck
[email protected]

Nobody expected to see the victim of a traumatic brain injury up and walking mere weeks after the car accident that caused it.

Therefore, Bella McBride surprised a lot of people when she walked into Old Brick on the afternoon of Feb. 27.

When the benefit in her honor was first planned about a month ago, it was assumed the City High senior would not be able to attend.

“A miracle girl is here,” a family friend remarked after she arrived.

Bella has been recovering from a car crash after she lost control of the wheel and hit a tree on the morning of Jan. 18. She was treated for a traumatic brain injury known as diffuse axonal injury at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Diffuse axonal injury occurs when damage in the form of extensive lesions in white matter tracts occurs over a widespread area.

Bella also had a torn medial collateral ligament, which keeps the shinbone in place. She suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament on her right knee and an 8-inch long laceration on the right side of her head that required 25 stiches.

While doctors projected she would not be able to leave the hospital until March, Bella got to see amazed reactions at the benefit.

“Their faces when they were walking up all looked so shocked,” she said. “I’m doing awesome. My recovery has been so great.”

Despite the severity of her injuries, Bella has made remarkable progress in strengthening her left side, which was made weaker by the accident, through physical and occupational therapy, said Shannon McBride, Bella’s mother.

“Her recovery has been happening much quicker than doctors and therapists anticipated,” McBride wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan. “She has impressed and amazed the Mayo Clinic team.”

Diana Landsman, Bella’s grandmother, said she has seen a whole new side of her through the process.

“She couldn’t walk, but she decided she would walk,” Landsman said, “When she decided she would do something, she would do it.”

Bella’s friends described her as a caring girl who always puts others before herself. She is a member of the varsity bowling team at City High and has worked as a server at the Hamburg Inn since 2014. She also enjoys playing with her dog, Leo, and attending music festivals throughout the Midwest.

Her mother said her injury and Mayo Clinic therapist have inspired Bella to become an occupational therapist some day.

The benefit included a silent auction with items donated by local artists and businesses to help aid with hospital bills.

McBride said the tremendous amount of support shown by the community has helped motivate her and Bella on the road to recovery.

“Words cannot express how truly touched we are,” she said.

Bella’s uncle, Keegan O’Malley, said he believes it wasn’t a miracle or luck that aided Bella’s recovery; it was his niece’s determination.

“She’s tough as nails,” O’Malley said. “Throughout everything, she has kept strength and positivity. I feel like this will only add to her strength and potential.”

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