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Hastings teen injured in crash continues to heal

Brian Gapp, the Hastings teenager seriously injured in a crash last October, continues to make progress.

That said, his life these days is far more challenging that life before the crash for the 16-year-old HHS junior.

He has double vision and his hearing is still very limited. The hearing remains his biggest challenge, said his mother Tina Gapp.

"He is obviously under the impression that this is by far the greatest challenge and source of pain in his life," she said. "This is tough, and we try to work on small group ideas, such as inviting one to two friends over, or having a hobby or club to start up."

Brain received a grant for a microphone that connects via Bluetooth to his hearing aid.

"He actually took it to Mass last weekend and Father Cole (Kracke) wore it," Tina Gapp said. "I was so happy that after all this time, Brian heard the homily for the very first time. His smile gave me a peaceful feeling."

While he is back in school full time, his homework takes him longer to complete than it did before. When he was in the crash, he was taking college-level classes at Inver Hills Community College. That's no longer the case, unfortunately for Brian.

He has graduated from physical and occupational therapy. He remains in speech therapy.

"You could say that progress is slowing down, but he continues to heal," Tina Gapp said.

The crash, just west of Hastings on 150th Street, left Gapp with severe brain trauma, multiple skull fractures, multiple facial fractures, orbital fractures, sinus fractures, glass in his lips and chin, a lacerated arm and a lacerated spleen. He was put into a coma to give his brain time to heal.

His arm pain is diminishing and his sense of smell, badly impaired immediately following the crash, is improving.

There aren't any days that go by where the family doesn't count its blessings - initially, the news was grim, and Brian's recovery has astounded them. Still, there are day-to-day hurdles that need to be cleared.

"My impression of all of this past four months is, 'Wow,' on so many levels," Tina Gapp said. "My pain is knowing how difficult life seems for him, and trying not to rescue him or help him when maybe he just wants to lament or to blow off steam.  His brain has about one to three years to heal from a jolt to the head that cracked it like humpty dumpty. My joy is embracing the miracle of his presence and continued healing."