LINCOLN, Neb. -- A two-year-old girl is recovering at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals after an accident that could have happened in any home. She tumbled from her Barbie Jeep back in May, and suffered a severe brain injury.
Joyce Dugan is a talkative, and very friendly little girl. Her big personality is something that her parents wondered would come back after suffering a traumatic brain injury.
Joyce stepped out of her Barbie Jeep one day in May and hit her head on the concrete, putting her families life on pause.
Joyce's Barbie Jeep was passed down from her sister, and has been in the family for years. But one day in May she tumbled while getting out and hit her head on the Dugan's driveway.
"It was horrifying we just...I mean...yeah we just didn't know if she was ever going to walk or talk again. We didn't know what our little Joyce was going to be like," said Karissa Dugan, Joyce's mother.
After immediate surgery, Joyce's family said it was almost five days before they knew the severity of her brain injury. There was hope she could return to her sweet sassy two year old self, and that's when they started therapy at Madonna rehabilitation hospitals.
"We've moved our whole family up here for two months now," said Karissa Dugan.
During that time they've focused on simple things many of us take for granted, like walking and playing.
"When she first got here she couldn't hold her head up. She couldn't stand. She couldn't move her left arm or her leg," said Joyce's Physical Therapist Sarah Economides.
But with family oriented therapy, Joyce is able to play with her brother and sisters as a part of her rehab.
"Playing in the playground, playing in the family lounge area but using her siblings to play tag or race her to go get something. They're a huge motivation to help her get moving," said Economides.
Joyce's physical therapist Sarah Economides said having her families support has pushed Joyce to where she is now .
"She's made incredible progress. Just watching her walk again, and talk again has been so wonderful," said Karissa Dugan.
Right now Joyce can walk by holding two peoples hands, but the goal is to have her walking out in July just holding onto one.
The Dugan family will then return home to Kansas for outpatient therapy.