Emily Murcar’s road to recovery

We cover car crashes almost daily, showing dramatic pictures of vehicles on scene. But what happens to the people involved?

Life as Emily Murcar knew it came to a crashing halt more than three years ago on the 403.

“I had just turned 30. I was on a path and suddenly in my path there was a road block and I had to go in a completely different direction.”

The recent grad of McMaster’s child life program, was taken to hospital with a shattered pelvis, a broken wrist, and seven broken ribs. She was barely hanging on.

“There’s been countless times where I’ve said I wish I broke every bone in my body and my brain was okay because that has been definitely the biggest part of it.”

After she was woken up from a two week medically induced coma, Emily had no memory of the crash.

“There were probably a couple of weeks time where I was told over and over what happened because I couldn’t quite remember.”

Today, remembering what most of us take for granted is often a challenge.

Her catastrophic brain injury still affects decision making and her abilities to multi-task.

“Nine times out of 10 I call somebody and if something catches my eye I have to look back at the phone to see who it is because I will forget who is on the phone.”

“What we have to do is create new neural pathways to compensate for the injured brain.” explained Tonya Lambert, who provides therapy for communication.

Working out is also part of Emily’s road to recovery.

Emily goes to physiotherapy once a month, and to her personal trainer a minimum of three times a week to work on her balance, strength, and muscle memory.

After the crash Emily was told she may not be able to walk again, so movement is a miracle.

“Emily, whatever she sets her mind to she does it and she’s not going to let anything including her situation hold her back.”

While her physical recovery could take another two years.

“I’m going to have an acquired brain injury for the rest of my life and so it’s a constant. Every day I have to think about it and it’s really the perseverance and not giving up.”


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