Lauren De Crescenzo, a pro cyclist from Broomfield, is back in Colorado.
But not for the reasons she might have hoped.
De Crescenzo, a 25-year-old member of the Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling women's team, is currently at Craig Hospital, where she's struggling to deal with injuries suffered in a devastating crash.
Her challenges include overcoming memory loss so severe that she initially was unable to recognize her own parents.
A GoFundMe page created to raise money for De Crescenzo's care describes the accident like so:
On Saturday, April 2, 2016, Lauren was involved in a serious cycling accident while participating in the San Dimas Stage Race in Southern California. The race was 56 miles/8 circuits on rolling terrain. The accident occurred during the field sprint just after Lauren had led out teammate Mia for the win. Lauren went down at about 100 m.
The injuries were obviously serious from the start. Teammate Beth Ann and several members of other teams with medical skills came to the aid of Lauren to clear her breathing and stabilize her spine. Lauren was then flown by helicopter to USC Medical Center’s trauma unit. Once in the hospital, everyone was happy to see that she was stable. She has several broken bones and severe lacerations. Her head injury is the most concerning, although the early CT scans did not show serious acute injury. Subsequent CT showed some bleeding, but the medical team remains positive.
During De Crescenzo's recovery period, the members of her "Wolfpack," as they describe themselves, launched a Wordpress website to keep folks updated on her progress — and her struggles with a traumatic brain injury, shorthanded as TBI.
On April 19, the site noted that after sixteen days at USC Medical Center, De Crescenzo was being transferred to Craig Hospital's TBI rehab program. Five days later came this update:
She is sleeping and eating well, her physical injuries and facial scars continue to heal well. She is generally frustrated and confused at times, which is a common emotional stage of recovery for TBI patients. While there are no set expectations around recovery phases and timelines for TBIs in general, there are several common patterns that occur and that can be helpful for her support system and helping Lauren through her recovery process.
Lauren is very active, which is understandable given the fact that she was in peak fitness at the time of her crash. The doctors and physical therapists are limiting her to walking for now and exercising her legs is calming for her.
On May 2, another post featured this photo....
...and some particularly promising news:
Lauren has been doing a lot of hot laps around Craig Rehabilitation Hospital, something like 10+ miles a day. She’s pictured above with close friends Cathy (Sox) and Heather (Smash). She’s received visits from many close friends over the last several weeks. It’s so encouraging to see the trajectory of Lauren’s recovery this last week. She is speaking, writing, and her memory is coming back. She realizes why she is in the hospital and she is starting to understand the magnitude of her injury (TBI).
The most recent item, from May 5, reads:
Lauren’s family had a meeting with all of Lauren’s doctors on Monday. Lauren has 5 doctors and many staff members assigned to her recovery at Craig Hospital. To summarize, every doctor and therapist agrees that Lauren is progressing well. Her physical injuries are healing “at a rapid pace." They attribute her speedy physical recovery to her exceptional overall pre-accident fitness. Her neck injury was the most critical of her physical injuries and her doctors reported that the bone fractures at the base of her skull were are hardly visible in the most recent MRI.
Lauren attends physical therapy classes daily as well as occupational and speech therapy. The doctors and therapists all report that she is doing very well in their sessions.
Regarding Lauren’s brain injury, her lead doctor (Dr. Alan Weintraub) said that Lauren was progressing “as expected." Her post-accident amnesia is clearing up a little more each day. Her memories are coming back to her at a surprising level (in her Dad’s words). Dr. Weintraub stated that her cognitive sense is her main issue at this time and that her healing will happen over time. The length of time will be is unable to be specified at this stage. Her doctor does expect to see marked improvement over the next several months. To be completely clear, this is going to be a long road of recovery for Lauren. There is no quick fix to this. The doctors had stated that they are optimistic for a full recovery but they can’t say when nor can they guarantee anything at this time.
Overall, the prognosis is positive.
The family wants to thank everyone for all of your support, thoughts, and prayers for Lauren. This will be a long road.. She is going to need the support from those who love her (and that list is extensive).
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Our best wishes to Lauren De Crescenzo, as well as her friends, family and loved ones. Look below to see a Fox31 report about her situation, originally broadcast just shy of three weeks after her crash.