Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — Thanksgiving holds a special meaning for the family of a Wake County man recovering from a traumatic brain injury suffered in a crash during a motorcross race two years ago.
Amy Root posts notes on the living room wall of their Fuquay-Varina home saying what she's thankful for in the lives of her husband, Adam, and 12-year-old daughter. Sometimes, visitors add to what the family calls their "Wall of Thankfulness."
"When you can give thanks in the midst of extreme trials and difficult circumstances, you can truly find contentment in any situation," Amy Root, 32, said.
On May 10, 2010, at a motorcross track in Sanford, Adam Root flew over the handlebars and landed on his head at 55 mph. Despite his protective gear, doctors said he had a 10 percent chance of survival and would likely be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
After 10 months in a coma, 13 surgeries and stays at six different hospitals, Adam Root was well enough to enter therapy. Even then, the family had another scare. He walked out of a rehab facility in Raleigh in November 2011 but was found safe hours later.
"He could not identify himself at that time, so he did not know his name. He did not know where he was, who he was," Amy Root said.
A year later, Adam Root, 30, is home for the holidays for the first time since the accident. He lost much of his memory, including details like where his wedding took place, but he can talk again, even though doctors said he might never regain speech.
The family has taken steps to keep Adam Root safe in their home, including installing a gate on the stairs. After seeing WRAL's story with the Roots last year, a local company donated a security system to make sure Adam Root does not wander off again.
The couple continues to face challenges. Adam Root cannot be left alone, and their insurance doesn't cover in-home care.
The Roots, though, are grateful for the life they have together.
"I love climbing into bed and getting to feel him every night," Amy Root said. "I missed that and wasn't sure if I would get that again. I feel like it is a gift I will never take for granted."