Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Watertown family adjusts after life-changing accident

November 17, 2008

WATERTOWN, MN - Alan and Greta Hansen Begg of Watertown received a terrifying call from the police the night of Aug. 29. Their 16-year-old son, Brett, had been in a car accident that left him with traumatic brain injuries, and he had been air-lifted to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Brett’s best friend, Luke Schultz, had been in the car with him, but didn’t survive the accident. Schultz was a classmate of Brett’s at Watertown-Mayer High School.

Also in the vehicle was Amanda Spooner, who was unharmed.

Brett spent at least three weeks in a deep coma following the accident, and was diagnosed with diffuse axonal injury, which is the worst of all brain injuries. He wasn’t expected to live, according to Alan.

Besides the brain injury, Brett suffered from a collapsed lung, broken pelvic bone, cracked skull, damage to his aorta, sixth vertebrae, and small intestine.

Today, Brett is at the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare Hospital, where he is undergoing therapy.

“He’s on the recovery track,” Alan said, and he hopes to see his son make a full recovery, though the doctors caution the family that with these cases, the outcome is hard to determine.

Brett can vocalize, but cannot speak at this point, Alan explained. Brett can make sounds at appropriate times though, which means that he is hearing and understanding. He can also point to indicate, Alan added.

The family is facing some big changes, as Brett is now in a wheelchair and their home is not handicap accessible.

Dan O’Mara, principal architect with Dan O’Mara Associates, donated his time to help the family design a plan for changes that will need to be made to the house. Some of the changes will include removing carpet, widening doorways, changing bathrooms, moving Brett’s bedroom to the ground floor, and installing a ramp and sidewalk.

Before the accident, Brett was an active 10th grader, involved with wrestling, football, the track team, and disc golf. Brett also loved going to Watertown-Mayer’s youth area ministries camp in the summer with his friends.

He has a lot of friends, some of whom have pitched in to help the family with a car-wash fundraiser. The community has come to the aid of the family with other fundraisers as well.

The Hansen Begg family appreciates the support they continue to receive and strive to be optimistic about Brett’s recovery.

“You think about it less as recovery time and more as growing time,” Alan said. “It’s like when a baby is growing, you don’t think about it as recovering, you think of them as learning how to live.”

Fundraiser wristbands that read, “Bet on Brett,” can be purchased for $2 from the Watertown Pharmacy, MarketPlace Foods, Calm Waters Massage, Chiropractic Specialists, Bremer Bank and Security State Bank.

Wristbands can also be purchased at the Red Carpet Event Center in St. Cloud on Saturday, Dec. 6, where the Hansen Begg Benefit will be conducted. There is a $10 admission charge.

The goal of the event is to raise money through a silent auction. To donate items to the auction, call Kelli Fredericksen at (320) 309-6141.

All the proceeds from the benefit go to the Hansen Begg family.

For more information about Brett’s progress, visit www.caringbridge.org and enter “bretthansenbegg” where it reads, “visit a Caring Bridge web-site.” Brett also has a second web-site with photos and fundraiser information at www.bretthansenbegg.com.

Monetary donations can be made out to: Brett Hansen Begg Benefit Fund, C/O Rayshele Kamke, 7924 Idaho Circle North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445.


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