A Texas teen’s life flashed before his eyes after a car accident left him in a coma for 21 days and pronounced dead, but his mother’s unyielding love and faith helped keep his heart beating.
Torianto ‘Junior’ Brinson, 16, can often be seen with a basketball in hand, but the sight of him shooting hoops is a long way from his predicament on Sept. 26, 2021.
“The accident happened, and my daughter called me, and told me I needed to get there, me and my husband arrived on the scene and couldn’t get through, so we just got out and we ran, and he was just lying there,” said La’Kisha Wells, Torianto Brinson’s mother.
The night of the car accident, Brinson was leaving a late-night movie around midnight. While heading home, he got into an accident that nearly cost him his life. His mother, La’Kisha Wells, 39, says he was ejected out of the car window. Wells quickly arrived at the crash scene. “I just wanted to get to my baby,” Wells said.
Brinson was taken to Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston, Texas, by LifeFlight. Once at the hospital, Wells was given grim news she simply refused to accept as true.
“Finally, they let us come to the back and he was just lying there, and Dr. Miller told us, there was nothing they could do, and he was gone, and I remember telling him, ‘So you’re not going to help my baby?’ “
Brinson suffered brain damage and other injuries that put him in a critical state. The 16-year-old says he cannot remember anything from the night of the accident.
“Junior’s entire skull was cracked when he came out of the window; he had a deep cut on his foot, his back is still scarred up, his face was scarred up, it was bad,” Wells said.
“When he came in, you can see a lot of the deficits that were challenging for him were the result of the different parts of his brain that were damaged as a result of the accident,” said Chelsea Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP TIRR Memorial Hermann.
Wells says she and the family all prayed for a miracle to save her son.
“I got up, went back into the hospital and said, ‘No, my son isn’t dead,’ and I grabbed his hand and began to pray for him, and I said ‘Junior, I need you,’ ” Wells said.
Wells says as she sat bedside next to her son, she noticed his foot twitched, which gave her hope her son was going to make it through his ordeal.
“I looked up and I said, ‘he moved,’ and there were two nurses at the end, at his foot and I asked them ‘Did you see him move?’ and they didn’t say anything at the moment. Then his leg moved, and I said, ‘he moved,’ so I jumped up, ran through the hospital, and said, ‘He moved, so what are you guys going to do?’ ” she said.
Although Brinson underwent four brain surgeries, he was not out of the woods yet; he was in a coma for 21 days.
“They told us that even though he survived, he wasn’t going to walk, talk, he was going to be pretty much a vegetable and for 21 days that’s pretty much that’s what he was. He didn’t move, he didn’t blink, he didn’t wake up, he didn’t do anything,” Wells said.
Never leaving the side of her son, Wells continued supporting Brinson through his recovery and once he recovered from his comatose state, he entered therapy at the start of 2022.
“One of his first days in therapy, we gave him a drumstick. Junior’s a drummer, so we put a trashcan in front of him and we handed him the drumstick and helped support it in his hand and his arm came full speed ahead down onto the trashcan,” said Miller of Brinson’s therapy sessions.
In less than six months, with therapy at home with his family supporting him every step of the way, Brinson had to relearn how to do simple things like eating, and how to take a bath. As Brinson’s recovery and therapy continued, Wells grew increasingly confident her son, once a stellar student taking advanced classes, and active in band and basketball, would soon return to his old self.
“I’m a teacher so I’d take fourth grade work and just come home and reteach him how to comprehend and infer but now Junior is back in summer classes taking college classes again,” Wells said.
Less than a year after doctors pronounced him dead from his severe injuries, Brinson is back on his own two feet, excelling in school and on the basketball court. He says he looks forward to a career in engineering or even professional basketball.
“Right now, I take college classes to become a mechanical engineer and I’m trying to make it to the NBA,” Brinson said of his future aspirations.
Wells says the eight-month road to recovery of her son has strengthened her connection with God and the power of prayer.
“To anyone if they go through this, I pray that they don’t, but if they do, you’ve got to believe; you’ve got to fight for your child no matter what,” Wells said.