VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. It’s the leading cause of disability in children in the United States.
One mother shared the story of her young son’s journey and his remarkable progress with CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.READ MORE: 2-Year-Old Shot In Newark
Catherine Kossi never takes the sweet, simple moments for granted with her adorable 18-month-old son, Kirk.
“There was a half an hour in my life where I thought he was dead,” Kossi said. “Every day after that was a happy day.”
Back in August, on his 1st birthday, Kirk nearly drowned in the family’s pond in Connecticut.
“Dad and I had a miscommunication where Dad thought I had him and I thought Dad had him,” Kossi said.
The youngest of three boys, Kirk was already walking, running and saying a few words.
But all that changed with his accident, when he didn’t have a heartbeat for about 20 minutes.READ MORE: Teen Shot In The Hand On Upper East Side Monday Morning
He ultimately ended up at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester County.
For four months, Kirk lived in the brain injury unit with his parents, both of them taking turns staying with him. Last summer, for the first time, the unit expanded because of demand.
“Kirk has, had an anoxic brain injury. Not enough oxygen was getting to his brain. That is what happens when there’s a near-drowning,” Dr. Kathy Silverman said. “His muscles were tightened. He was arched backwards. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t eat by mouth.”
With intense therapy and medical care, Kirk has made exceptional progress. He was finally able to go home after Christmas.
Now, he comes back a few times a week for out-patient therapy.
“Just tiny steps are huge for us. The first day he grabbed our hand, the first day he rolled over,” Kossi said.
Kossi largely credits Blythedale for these milestones, grateful all of this didn’t turn out a different way.MORE NEWS: Met Gala Making Its Comeback In September
“The best word I have for him is joy. He’s just really a joyful kid,” she said.