Thursday , June 12, 2014 - 1:41 PM
OGDEN – Marjorie Medina didn’t have to fight.
Shuffled behind a sophomore in the starting lineup for a few games early in the softball season, Medina very easily could have accepted her role and found a way to simply trudge through the season.
That, however, wouldn’t be Medina.
“She was like, ‘Well, I’m going to prove myself,’ so she came out and she started hitting the ball like crazy – hitting the ball over the fence at practice and coming up with clutch hits,” Weber High softball coach Melinda Wade said. “To me, that shows her fighting attitude that, ‘My position just because I’m a senior isn’t just going to be given to me. I’ve got to fight for it.’ And she literally did all season long. She fought for her position.”
Five weeks after Weber’s final game of the season, Medina is waging a much more serious fight.
Medina was driving southbound near 34th and Wall in Ogden with her cousin and her cousin’s son at about 11:30 a.m. on May 21 -- a day after her high school graduation -- when, according to Medina’s father, a driver coming the opposite direction drifted through the median and collided head on with Medina’s 1998 Honda Accord.
Medina suffered multiple bone fractures and broken bones, including all of the major bones in her right leg and her right foot. She also suffered a grade five liver laceration, pulmonary contusions and severe brain trauma.
Her 30-year-old cousin, who was in the passenger seat at the time, suffered a broken foot, a fractured pelvis and a fractured rib. Her cousin’s 10-year-old son was seen by physicians but never admitted into the hospital. The driver in the other vehicle also sustained injuries and was taken to the hospital.
The prognosis since Medina arrived at McKay-Dee Hospital hasn’t been entirely positive, according to her father, George Medina.
“They have told us there’s a very good chance she may never be 100 percent what she was,” George said.
George knows his daughter, though, and every day he’s seeing signs that she’s not giving up.
“She is a tenacious fighter,” George said. “She has always had a belief that she can do anything, and we keep our faith and we keep optimistic by seeing her progress little by little every day. The doctors practice medicine, they don’t know it … if anybody can prove them wrong, it’s her. I think anybody that knows her and met her would agree with that and believe that. We’re seeing it slowly every day. We’re just putting all of our faith in Margie. We believe in Margie …
“She smiled at us the other day. She laughed at us the other day. Considering what she’s been through and the severity of this accident that she’s been through, for her to be able to laugh and smile speaks volumes for who and what she is right now. This is the fight of her life. Literally.”
After arriving at McKay-Dee, doctors had to insert a tracheostomy tube and attach Marjorie to a ventilator. They also had to induce a medical coma because of the amount of surgeries that were required. After spending 10 days in the intensive care unit, Marjorie was moved to intermediate medical care. Just this past week, she was moved to rehabilitation, and yesterday she was taken off the ventilator – although she still has the tracheostomy tube.
Her cousin was released Tuesday.
“She’s got way more head movement, head strength, moving of her arms and legs, some finger movement,” George said of his daughter’s continued improvement. “(She’s) doing a lot of laughing. She can understand conversations in real time. (She’s) mouthing some words, following simple commands.”
Over the next six weeks, Marjorie will continue to rehab. Her father doesn’t pretend the process will be easy.
“She’s going to need a lot of help through physical therapy,” George said. “It’s going to be hard. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a struggle. It’s going to be a fight, and the way I look at it from what I know of Margie is that it’s going to be like getting up for practice every morning at 5 o’clock like she did and make it. It’s going to be going out there and working her butt off, sweating and crying and pushing herself to the extreme, and that’s what she did. She’s very tenacious. She wanted it, she got it.
“It’ll be a very lengthy process to see what she will be capable of. Nobody really knows. We just hope for the best, prepare for the worst and we believe (in) all the prayers. We appreciate the support and we believe in Margie.”
Fortunately for Marjorie and her family, the rehabilitation will take place at McKay-Dee. For a while, doctors were thinking she might need to be moved to the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.
“Initially they wanted to send her to Salt Lake’s LDS Hospital to work on her respiratory system to strengthen it so she didn’t need the machine,” George said. “She has bypassed that step, or is in the process of bypassing that entire step, which is a minimum 30-day process to basically wean herself off the machine.”
Marjorie has been supported by not just her family, including her younger sister Marisa – who played with her on the softball team this year – but also girls she played comp ball with.
Recent Northridge High graduates Shaeleigh Knell and Ashton Nicholson, who Marjorie played comp ball with, recently hosted a car wash where they raised over $2,000. The pair also designed shirts that have softball laces on the front, Marjorie’s initials between the laces and her softball number, 35, on the back, along with the message that she’s a fighter.
“Even though we don’t see each other every day, I still consider her one of my best friends,” Knell said. “We’ve been through a lot together – playing on comp teams, we saw each other every weekend and throughout the week with practices. We really bonded.
“We’ve gotten really close. Ever since day one of the comp team we’ve always been really good friends. It sucks knowing that she’s laying in a hospital bed … and I know I’m not going to be able to help her recovery, help her get better, but I’m going to do everything I can to help her family out and let her know we’re all here and we all love her.”
George and his wife Melisa can’t say enough about the help they’ve received.
“We’ve received tremendous support from friends, family, some people that we don’t even know,” George said. “The softball community … the outpouring from girls like Shaeleigh and Ashton and the Weber High softball team, the coaches, the comp teams … even younger girls’ teams have shown support for her. It’s just incredible that an 18-year-old has touched so many people’s lives in so little time.”
The Medinas have set up a charitable account for Marjorie in her name at America First Credit Union for anyone willing to make a donation.
Contact reporter Ryan Comer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSE and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RyanComerSE
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