“Station 19″‘s Lalia Susini is opening up about her traumatic brain injury.
Susini, 12, who played the younger version of the show’s character Andy Herrera (played by Jaina Lee Ortiz) is speaking about having to learn how to walk again after a swing accident.
In October 2020, Susini was on a swing being pushed by her grandfather when the attachment holding the swing broke, causing her to fall and hit her head.
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By the time paramedics arrived, Susini had already had a stroke and lost movement on her left side.
“I thought I was going to die,” she told People. “I was talking, and I was awake, but I thought I was dreaming. I realized I was lying on this bed, and I saw blood all running down me. I was scared. I knew it was really bad at that point.”
Susini underwent a four and a half hour surgery, but the outlook didn’t look good.
Dr. Kevan Craig, chief of the division of rehabilitation medicine, told the publication, “She couldn’t stand, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t even get out of bed. She was talking, and her speech was okay, but her left side was basically pretty much shut down.”
After being moved to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Susini took on two months of physical and occupational therapy. She fought on, wanting to play soccer and skateboard again.
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Just before Christmas, she took her first step with a walker.
“I knew it was going to happen, so honestly I was just like, ‘Finally!'” she added.
Not only is Susini returning to “Station 19” on May 9, she has also started a kids’ apparel line called LATE Clothing with a portion of sales going towards Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Susini has her sets on one day becoming a brain surgeon.
“It means I can do anything,” she concluded. “My mom says it takes a special person to do that job, but I think it’s cool helping people.”