On March 17, 2019, Cody Langley, 20, along with his father, brother and cousin, watched a late-night street race. Standing near the finish line, Cody remembers the start of the race, but nothing else. The car nearest to him lost control and hit Cody going – estimates differ – 150-200 miles an hour.
Cody struggled to breathe and postured (stiff limbs, a sign of severe brain injury). He was rushed to Ben Taub Hospital where doctors dealt with a traumatic brain injury, broken legs (one displaced in three places), four pelvic fractures, one fractured vertebra, lacerated spleen, badly bruised lung and broken nose and orbital bones around his right eye. A tracheotomy and, later, bacterial pneumonia threatened use of his voice.
Cody was in Ben Taub 25 days, the first seven in a medically induced coma. He wasn’t aware of his care or surroundings for weeks.
He has no clear memory of his care, but says, “I heard it was good, though I have no idea. One of the nurses, Miss Jackie, was really cool. Mr. Mike [Segal, senior patient liaison] saw me every day, and he still calls me.”
Even if his recovery went well, Cody was not expected to walk for six months. Using a walker, he walked on April 9, far ahead of schedule. After leaving Ben Taub, he had inpatient and extended outpatient therapy. He was highly motivated to give his all to speech, physical and occupational therapies, with heavy-duty cognitive rehab added to the mix.
“I kept telling myself, ‘I know I can do this.’ People have been dealt a harder card and gone further. I told myself: Don’t give up. I can succeed. It may be hard, but I can do this.”
His will power paid off. He finished high school at home and is now attending community college, working as a grocery cashier (the fastest in the region) and rebuilding a 1977 Ford F-100 for drag racing.
Cody had to give up his dream of joining the Coast Guard. He left Ben Taub determined to become a nurse, but rehab showed him he can be a motivational force as an occupational therapist. Therapy taught him not to give up. “Practice doesn’t make perfection,” he says. Perfect practice makes perfection. Keep trying.”