Lauren Brasure has a prayer chain hanging in her room.
The long, colorful paper chain of Bible verses and prayers from UF’s athletic community reminds her of the outpouring support she received after being hit by a car Dec. 9.
She then underwent surgery for a blood clot at UF Health Shands Hospital. Now she’s recovering in Rockford, Michigan, surrounded by family.
Brasure, a former UF athlete, initially struggled to understand her situation, but she’s hoping to come back to UF.
“At the end of the day, I’m still living, so there’s no bad in this,” the 20-year-old said. “I can only get better from here.”
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Before her accident, she was a sophomore runner for the UF cross country and track and field teams. She currently holds the seventh-fastest 5K time for UF’s cross country women’s team.
She’s one of the crazy runners who enjoyed long runs, Brasure said with a laugh.
Her friend and former teammate, Devin McDermott, agrees.
“It was a good kind of crazy, where she was kind of up for anything,” the 22-year-old UF telecommunications senior said.
Brasure’s long-distance running training and optimism helped her recovery, Alicia Savage, her occupational therapist, wrote in an email.
“I think being athletic did help her to rehabilitate quickly and allow her to focus on higher level goals sooner,” Savage said.
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On Dec. 9, Brasure said she remembers standing on a sidewalk curb while on her way home to study for an exam.
She said she was about to cross West University Avenue when a car swerved to avoid hitting other pedestrians. He hit her instead.
Her mother, Mickey Brasure, remembers Dec. 9.
She called her other daughters, Lauren’s sisters, and they made their way from Michigan to Gainesville.
“This was Lauren, this was our daughter,” she said. “It was unquestionable.”
Brasure’s mother said after the accident, her family had to remind Lauren what happened.
“In her mind, she wanted to be back in her apartment,” Mickey said. “It was her brain protecting her.”
Because she didn’t understand where she was, she tried to leave. Every night she was restrained because she forgot why she was there.
It wasn’t until about two weeks after the accident that she remembered what happened.
Since then, Brasure has been determined to recover.
“It really is not as bad as it could be, and I’m doing everything I can to get better,” she said.
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After about three months, Brasure is pain-free.
She said she graduated from the physical therapy program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on March 17.
But she still struggles with the effects of the incident. When speaking, she takes a few seconds to find the right words. When listening, she takes a moment to process information.
Brasure got the green light to start running again a month ago.
She misses the camaraderie of her sport, but she’s just happy to be running again, she said.
“I’m just enjoying my freedom now,” Brasure said.
On March 29, Brasure is returning to Gainesville to watch her friends compete in the Florida Relays, a three-day track and field competition.
She said she still has to decide whether she’ll return to UF as an athlete, but she wants to come back to UF.
“To make a smart decision, I have to wait a little longer,” she said.
Lauren said her and her family’s strong faith in God has helped through her recovery.
“Even though something bad happened to me, I’m still determined to live the life I’m destined to live,” Brasure said.