Brenna Cornhoff - Texas Nomination by Ariella Gurfinkel Photography by Chelsea Adams Issue 45 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Brenna Cornhoff has been through one heck of a year. Brenna was in a boating accident this past summer and have endured 18 surgeries, months in the hospital, and is on her road to recovery. Brenna’s made it her goal to use her story to help overs with trauma and help people have a more positive view on life. Through everything Brenna’s been through she’s stayed positive and that’s amazing.
Photography by Chelsea Adams
What do you want us to know about your injury? My injury occurred in August of 2020. I was sucked under a boat while wakeboarding and my right leg got caught in the propeller. I was life-flighted to a hospital in Idaho where it was discovered that the propeller cut through my tibia bone, fibula bone, peroneal nerve, and I was severely cut which led to a series of 18 surgeries with current possibilities of more. My surgeon, Dr. Egeland performed a tendon, nerve, and muscle transfer that had never been done in the world before to create the opportunity for me to walk normally again without a drop foot. In total I was in the hospital for about 3 months, not ever getting out of bed. I also have a skin graft covering about 40% of my lower right leg. I’m still working, healing, and waiting for my nerve to possibly work again.
Photography by Chelsea Adams
What was your recovery like? My recovery has been long and not at all easy. For six months now and into my foreseeable future I go to physical therapy four times a week. I had to regain all my strength to get out of bed, mobility, and now learning to walk without assistance from an AFO brace. The hardest part of my recovery was going from being an athlete to getting winded when getting out of bed. As well as, knowing that I may never be “normal” again or all the unknowns constantly swarmed my head. It’s frustrating not being able to do anything you once so easily could, but I was four millimeters away from death or being an amputee and I still have all my limbs and am lucky to be recovering. I’m still working through this all, but my motivation is celebrating every small win, only looking a day into the future at a time, and being incredibly positive, but also honest with others and myself.
Photography by Angie Bobst
What words of encouragement do you have for someone in a similar situation? Anyone that can relate to my story I want them to understand that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not be positive or cheery every day because losing anything or a part of yourself is awful. The hard part is getting up the next day and fighting for yourself. To get better even when it’s hard and you don’t want to. You have to celebrate every day at your progress because that positivity is so important in your recovery. The little victories matter because when you look back at your accomplishments, all those little things add up and push you when you do have that next hard day. Most importantly believe in yourself and learn to love yourself when you’re going through your worst trial because that opens your eyes to all the possibilities you’ll have moving forward in your life.
The 5K sounds super fun. Tell us more about that! My physical therapist believes I can finish a 5k on the anniversary of my accident so my family and friends are planning a 5k and fundraising for kids who have lost lower extremities.
Look for Brenna in issue 45 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!