Christmas awaits woman recovering from serious injuries

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on January 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 29 at 2:32 PM

RIVER OAKS - It's a special day on Hope Street in River Oaks in Tarrant County.

With unopened presents beneath, a Christmas tree in one home has still been lit over a month after the holiday passed. It's all waiting for 20-year-old Amber McKinney to come.

Six days before Christmas on December 19, McKinney was in a terrible car wreck with her boyfriend. 

Their pickup went airborne, slamming into a culver. She suffered serious head injuries and an internal decapitation, which is a rare medical condition where the skull separates from the spinal column during a severe head injury. Many people do not survive such injuries, doctors say.

After emerging from a coma two weeks later, she had to relearn how to walk, talk and use her left side. Thirty-four days after the accident, McKinney can walk without help, use her left arm and has regained the bubbly personality she had before the accident.

Some call her recovery a miracle.

McKinney hopes someone else fighting against the odds will find her comeback inspirational. Either way, her family knows the brightly colored packages under the tree are not the true gift.

"When I walked in there and saw her with both eyes open, I said, 'Thank you Lord; You gave me back my granddaughter," said JD McKinney, recalling his visit to his granddaughter in the hospital,

"I can't believe the injuries I had," McKinney said. "And I was supposed to die, but I'm still alive. That's a gift to me and to everybody, for sure."

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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