Trauma Survivor Stories

Survival. Strength. Hope.

Be inspired by these Brevard County survivors who have come back from devastating injuries with messages of hope and confidence for the future.



Traumatic brain injury from a fall

Tara and Joe DelGado began calling hospitals when they hadn’t heard from their 19-year-old son in more than 24 hours.  They found him at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center where he was listed as a “John Doe” and in critical condition. 

Chris DelGado, a college student, had fallen four stories from the family’s Cape Canaveral condo balcony. He was found unresponsive by strangers who called 911. 

When Tara and Joe called Holmes Regional Medical Center looking for their son, nurses and case managers were able to match Chris to a photo his parents sent. He was in a coma and had sustained traumatic injuries to his brain and hip among other injuries. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tara and Joe could only call their son’s ICU nurses for updates.

“They were always so patient, knowledgeable, informative and compassionate with us,” Tara said.

It was on one of the early calls that Holmes nurses placed the receiver to Chris' ear so that Tara and Joe could speak to their son. At the end of that call, for the first time since being admitted, Chris stirred.

Slowly, Chris came out of the coma. After a time, he was able to talk. Staff used a video-calling app so Tara and Joe could see and speak to their son as specialists delivered important updates about his health and recovery. 

Chris was discharged after nearly six weeks in the hospital to recover at home and get out-patient physical rehabilitation. 

"I feel like I'm making more progress than what was anticipated," said Chris. "They did a pretty amazing job. I'm happy to come back and say, 'Thank you.' "



Motorcycle crash survivor 

Holden knew a collision was inevitable the moment a semi-truck pulled out in front of his motorcycle.

Holden, 22, remembers laying on the concrete, coughing up blood, and overhearing someone on the scene saying to his best friend, "Hey, man. Your buddy's not going to make it."

The crash left him with broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and a lacerated spleen, among other injuries. First Flight was called to fly him to the Trauma Center at Holmes Regional Medical Center. 

Nearly a year after his near-fatal crash, Holden returned to the Trauma Center and ICU to meet and thank the doctors, nurses, and the flight crew who saved his life that day. 

"It was definitely a whole new experience," Holden said, "seeing everyone, meeting the flight crew, because that part, I don't even remember. I'm very grateful."