By Caroline Wigmore
After the car accident in May that left Kacie Carlsted with severe injuries, it was doubtful that she would walk again, let alone dance.
Although Carlsted still can’t remember her senior year, the accident, or her time in the hospital today, she is strapping on her tap shoes and attending dance classes in Monticello.
Most of Carlsted’s dance friends have moved away to college, but meet up with her at their studio in Monticello once a week to dance together.
“At first she was barely able to do basic tap, and now is starting to do spins,” Lee Ann Carlsted, Kacie’s mother said, explaining that being able to spin in dance is a big deal for Kacie, because of her brain injuries.
Kacie’s doctor attributes her success in learning to walk again from her dancing experience, which made her more physically fit than the average person.
Her injuries included brain injuries, pelvic fractures, and spinal injuries, to name a few.
The extent of her injuries made it miraculous that in one day’s work with a therapist, she went from being in a wheelchair to walking with a gate walker, to using therapy parallel bars, to a walker, and then to walking on her own.
It was an amazing day for the Carlsteds. Lee Ann took video footage of it.
Kacie is still in speech and occupational therapy, and will undergo further testing in order to chart her progress. Some of the tests will be necessary before she starts college.
Though Kacie doesn’t remember her time in the hospital, she does remember her physical therapist, Kristine, and is inspired to go into the medical field because of her experience.
“I was cured in the hospital,” Kacie said. “I think I want to go into physical therapy, speech therapy, or become a doctor,” she added.
Despite her brain injuries, her tests show that in some subjects, she is actually exceeding college level.
With all that Kacie struggles to remember, there are some things that have stuck with her.
“I do remember the new high school,” Kacie said.
Her doctors say that things should continue to come back to her with time.
“She’s never had trouble talking,” Lee Ann laughed, referring to her work with speech therapy.
As many of her friends are now gone to college, she spoke affectionately of one of her best friends, Tynelle Marschall, a Dassel-Cokato student who is one grade level below Kacie, and is still at home as she is a senior this year.
“We were drama friends, and we met in theatre,” Kacie said.
Kacie recently accompanied a mission group on a trip to Jamaica, where she worked with children in their schools.
“I loved the kids, they were my favorite part of the trip,” Kacie said. The group spent a lot of time with the local children, and Kacie especially enjoyed a puppet show they put on.
A nurse accompanied the group to Jamaica, which made it possible for Kacie to take such a long trip.
Today, Kacie is looking forward to her future and is considering where she should attend college. She hopes to find a school with a strong medical program.