Hoosier learns to walk again after suffering serious brain injury

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A brain injury once threatened to rob an Indiana man of his ability to walk and talk, but more than two years later, he focuses on what it gave him--a biblical perspective.

Once a week, you'll find 25-year-old Ben Littrell hard at work in the IU Health Neuroscience Center. It's one of several ways he works on rehabilitation. The movements are simple, but whether it is a calf raise, squat or hop, Ben takes none of them for granted.

"He’s worked really really hard to be where he’s at," says physical therapist Lydia George, who helps Ben regain balance and strength in his legs.

His goal is to someday run again.

"Jogging kind of burns off that energy, and that steam and helps regulate emotions which can be tricky after a brain injury," says George. "Ben is very self-aware, and he knows that part of who he is and he knows he needs that in his life. "

Three to five miles were often part of Ben's routine, until he suffered a serious injury while trying to cross the street in Charleston, South Carolina.

"There was a construction site, and I think the driver’s view was blocked by a piece of equipment," says Ben's father, Paul Littrell. "They had to tow away the SUV that hit him."

Paul remembers getting the phone call, miles away in Indiana.

"When we got down there he was in a coma and you don’t really know what that means. Someone is just asleep."

Ben only remembers waking up in the hospital.

"I just thank God it’s gone because I don’t want to remember a lot of it," he says.

His brain had to relearn how to keep his heart pumping, keep breath in his lungs and regulate his body temperature.

Ben recalls getting the initial prognosis from doctors.

"They from the get go said, based off of his brain injury, he may never walk or talk again. So, I blew those original doctors out of the water."

Every day is another opportunity to prove them wrong. Each move is another step closer to his goal.

"If he can run again, I’m sure he’ll be doing that," says Paul. "I’m sure he’ll push himself just like he does in everything else."

Ben now shares his story at schools, and with others who suffered brain injuries. His message is centered on his new outlook on life: persevere in the areas you can control and rely on faith to understand the things you cannot.

"I just always think through the Bible, and if certain people went through worse and they made the best of it, so can I."

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