LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - She doesn't remember the car slamming into her. She doesn't even remember the entire summer of last year.
On August 3, 2012, Shaina Whitt was crossing Man 'O War Boulevard at Boston Road on her bike. It was something she had done many times before. This time, something went horribly wrong and her mother witnessed it all.
"All of a sudden, I see Shaina's bike go flying and I just jump out of the car and I was hollering...my baby, my baby," Tina Whitt says.
Tina and her daughter admit they were rushed and distracted that Friday evening. They had gone separately to the grocery store to buy some last minute things for a vacation. Tina drove in her car. 15-year old Shaina was on her bike. Traffic was heavy at the intersection as they waited for the all-clear to cross Man 'O War. No one is sure why Shaina started across the intersection. Her mom believes Shaina's vision was blocked by a line of cars waiting to turn. A larger vehicle blocked Tina's view of her daughter, so all she saw was the bike go flying. Shaina had hit the car's windshield and ended up dozens of feet down the road next to the curb.
As Tina ran to her daughter, it did not look good. Shaina was not wearing a bike helmet. Tina says she just remembers the blood coming out Shaina's mouth. Her eyes were rolled back into her head and her eyes had started to swell. Shaina had a fractured skull, broken bones in her face, a leg broken in three places and swelling of her brain. Her mother was convinced Shaina would survive, but wondered what kind of life she would have after the accident.
A year later, Shaina is getting ready for her junior year in high school. Her right leg is still not normal. There are places on it she can not feel and it's weaker than the left one. Because of the brain injury, she had to give up soccer. She runs cross country, even with the weaker leg.
We don't know how much difference a bike helmet would have made. Tina thinks her daughter may have suffered a concussion instead of the severe brain trauma. She went through weeks of therapy at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital to strengthen her leg and work on communication and memory skills.
"I think God had other plans for me, or I wouldn't be where I am now. I am very blessed," says Shaina.
She has a message for anyone who rides a bike, wear a helmet.