Kyle’s Story

Beating All Of The Odds 

Earlier this summer Kyle Hollingsworth was in a near-death jet ski accident. Just less than an hour after this picture was taken, his world was turned upside down.

Hollingsworth was hanging out on the beach at Bird Island with his girlfriend and family when he decided to go for a ride on his family’s jet ski.

No one saw what happened to Hollingsworth that day, but he was found floating face down in the water, unconscious. He was bleeding from both his ears and his nose when another jet skier approached him.

Hollingsworth was airlifted to a trauma level one hospital, but he would have never gotten there in time if it wasn’t for those who helped along the way. 

Ex-Marine on the Water

Alex just so happened to be riding his jet ski in the same area as Hollingsworth that day. He spotted a body floating in the water and rushed over quickly to help.

Alex hadn’t ridden his jet ski in over three years at Bird Island, but something made him want to go out and ride that day. Alex was an ex-Marine, so he didn’t hesitate to help.

Alex pulled Hollingsworth out of the water and put him on his jet ski until help could arrive. Luckily, help wasn’t far away.

There to Help

Two wildlife officers Tommy and Dale were patrolling the water that hot summer day. They had miles to cover, but luckily they were only about 400 yards away from the scene.

The wildlife officers came immediately to help him. They didn’t think that Hollingsworth would make it if they waited on the rescue boat to come, so they took him to land themselves.

They didn’t waste any time, they got him to throw up twice so that he could get some of the water out of his lungs. One stabilized Hollingsworth’s head while the other drove as fast as he could to land.

They radioed all large vessels to stop on the waterway so they could make it to land safely, without any wake, which could cause more damage to his head.

They came to the hospital every day to check on him. They even brought him gifts for when we did wake up from his coma.

Hollingsworth said “My views on wildlife officers have changed, I see a whole new side of things. I could easily not been where I am today if it wasn’t for them. They’re out there to do their jobs, but they’re also out there to help people.”

The Rescue

Once the wildlife officers got him to land, he was intubated in the field and airlifted to a trauma level one hospital.

A trauma level one hospital provides the most comprehensive trauma care. Multiple people worked together to get Hollingsworth to the hospital in a short amount of time, they all played a significant role in his rescue.

The Coma

Once he got to the hospital, he had a bolt placed in his head which measured the pressure in his brain. If the pressure got too high, he would have to have brain surgery.

He was put into a medically induced coma for five days. On the fifth day, they took him off of sedation in attempts to wake him, but he didn’t wake up.

On the seventh day, they took the bolt out of his head and then did an MRI on the eighth day. The MRI showed that he suffered from a Diffuse Axonal Injury.

A DAI is a form of a traumatic brain injury where the axons in the brain tear. With DAI’s, some people never wake up from a coma.

It can take weeks or even months to wake up for those that do wake. Most people take years to recover, and some never fully recover.

The Eighth Day

On the eighth day, the doctors extubated him. He woke up. He started talking immediately, he wanted to get up and walk.

He was a high risk for falling so he wasn’t allowed to walk on his own, but within a couple of days, he was walking with the help of others.

Most of the time people who wake up from DAI’s have distorted fine motor skills, but Hollingsworth was doing great. The doctors thought he was a miracle.

The Video

The Recovery

Hollingsworth is recovering tremendously. He can talk, walk, and he’s starting to get some movement back in his face.

Recovery is different for every person. Two people could have the same brain injury, and have different outcomes. No one knows what the outcome will be until the person wakes up, it is impossible to tell exactly what all will be affected.

In the accident, he severed the nerves in his face giving him facial paralysis. Hollingsworth did acupuncture weekly and used a TENS unit daily to try to regain movement.

Since the video was taken, he has gotten some movement back. He can now raise his eyebrows as well as give a soft smile.

Hollingsworth just celebrated his 23rd birthday, and he is expected to make a full recovery.