Thirty-year-old Christina Bova knows what courage is. She mustered plenty of it after the car she was riding in got hit by a train while crossing the tracks. The accident happened two years ago, leaving the then 28-year-old from the St. Louis Hill neighborhood with severe injuries and months in rehabilitation. When she came to SSM Rehabilitation Hospital’s Brain Injury Unit one month after the accident, she couldn’t walk or eat on her own, and speech and cognitive deficits made communication difficult.
Chris was publicly recognized for that courage last fall. In November 2004, she was honored with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri’s Courage Award at the organization’s annual meeting in Columbia, Missouri. She was presented with a plaque and letter of recognition for her hard work in facing an uphill battle to recovery.
“Christina came back from a very traumatic injury,” said Anita Hamilton, who was Christina’s case manager at SSM Rehabilitation Hospital-SMHC. “She has such a positive attitude and served as an inspiration to a lot of her fellow patients.”
Anita recalled the massive functional gains Christina made while in rehabilitation. She had to work hard on transfers, balance and ambulation, self care and strengthening, and regaining speech, cognitive abilities and memory, said Anita.
At home for the past year, Christina has continued outpatient therapy in a day treatment program five days a week, and returns to SSM Rehabilitation Hospital for regular visits with her physiatrist, Dr. Nguyen. Her parents, Joan and Joseph Bova, know the courage others mention.
“She has worked very hard,” said Joan, who recalls the therapists in one of Christina’s programs remarking that Christina was one of the hardest working brain injury patients they’d seen. Even now, Christina has determination to continue improving her functionality. “She knows she’s going to get well and to back to work,” said Joseph.
Christina’s accident and rehabilitation have touched others, too. Joe Bova proudly talks about how former 1946 Cardinals catcher Joe Garagiola, also harking from The Hill, calls, visits and sends things to Christina when he can.
Congratulations to Christina on her award!
More Patient Stories