SPARTA. NJ - In September of 2014, Chris Rabbitt was riding down a mountain biking trail, and flipped over the handlebars. After flying off a 15-foot high cliff, he landed on a group of large rocks and was knocked unconscious. Chris was rushed to Newton Medical Center and was deemed to have a broken wrist and nose.
In the following days he experienced an onslaught of exhaustion, migraines and memory loss. The next month consisted of doctor’s visits and every brain test imaginable.
Eventually, the results came in, and they didn’t look so good. Even though Chris was wearing a helmet during the accident, he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, and his symptoms showed a long, slow recovery.
Not only is his brain affected by the accident, but his eyes are as well. His brain is signaling to his left eye to shut off, so he is blind in his left eye. Chris already underwent two surgeries in the past to fix his crossed eyes, and the trauma to his brain is undoing what the surgery fixed.
Chris’ school schedule was modified, so he only went to school for half of the day. Although he has returned to a full day schedule, he is not allowed to read or write for long periods of time. He now has to undergo eye therapy twice a week in order to stop his brain from shutting off his eye. It is difficult and exhausting. He isn’t allowed to run for the cross country team, or surf, or do most activities that he enjoyed prior to the accident.
Despite his brain injury, blindness and severe color blindness, Chris has continued to create art. Chris said, “Even though I lost a lot of things during the accident, I didn’t lose art." During his three study halls and lunch, he can be found hunched over a sketchbook. In fact, he has even improved his art over the past few months.