Standing well beyond six feet tall, McAllen native John Keller’s presence is immediately known as. He walks into healthy valley offices. The well-mannered, articulate and physically fit gentleman is not what one would expect of someone who has been described. As a “walking impossibility.” John’s story defies as many odds as he has expectations about himself. Miracle
February 17, 2008: John Keller, 33, was hit by a motorist while he was riding his motorcycle. With no helmet or protective gear, John flew 150 feet into the air and landed across five lanes of traffic. The injuries sustained were so serious, that little hope was given for survival. After 70 days in a coma, 11 months in hospitals and 14 surgeries, John is walking, talking and praising God for restoring him to health. John Keller is a truly a miracle of biblical proportions.
Remarkably, after more than 70 days in a coma, 11 months in hospitals and 14 surgeries, on January 20, 2009, John began talking. One week later, Keller walked out of TIRR Hermann memorial in Houston, Texas, and went home. Despite all reports and medical indications that he would live a vegetative life, he has returned to normal routines of working on brain fit exercises out in the gym for several hours a day and working the other half of the day.
He has dedicated his life to educating family members of patients with traumatic brain injuries about not giving up when challenges present themselves, encouraging the medical community and providing spiritual inspiration to those who are willing to listen. Miracle
“When he was asked to speak to the Memorial Hospital board for the first time after the accident, he ran on stage and everyone just gasped,” says Jan Keller, Keller’s mother. “He certainly did not look or sound like a former TBI (traumatic brain injury) patient. It was incredible.” Miracle
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TO US HOW THE RECOVERY PROCESS BEGAN AFTER JOHN’S NEAR-FATAL ACCIDENT?
Even if he did come out of it, he would be in a permanent wheelchair. But we said, “God can do miracles,” to which they replied, “Yes, we have seen those too.”
HOW LONG BEFORE YOU BEGAN SEEING ANY SIGNS OF RECOVERY?
Jan Keller: About seventy days in the coma, we began to see his eyes open in a very narrow slit, and day by day he began to open them more and more. He was still unresponsive, but it was great to see progress. Finally a basketball game came on TV, and John turned his head.
Thankfully, a university hospital in Houston took us in thanks to an RGV connection and allowed to use their facilities for John’s rehabilitation. We finally began to see a hint of personality when we put John in an elevator with his sunglasses on to go outside. When we arrived on the bottom floor, he had taken them off by himself. It was all very gradual and he was still unable to talk or make any complex movements. We had our goal, and many doubted it, that not only would John be completely back to his old self, but that he would be walking.
WHEN WOULD JOHN BEGIN TO CONSCIOUSLY REMEMBER?
John Keller: My first memories were those of not being able to talk without severe slurring but also of the cognitive exercises we would do and thinking “This is getting repetitive!” My thoughts were just firing, mostly questions, almost childlike in a way. But I remember having the drive to come back to my life
WHEN DID YOU CONSIDER THAT JOHN WAS FINALLY BACK?
John Keller: It really was one day to another. I remembered who I was. hadn’t been able to speak before, and suddenly I was myself again. couldn’t stop talking.
He made 15 phone calls, speaking perfectly. Everyone was livid, celebrating. He knew the doctor’s name, the staff, everyone. From one moment to another, John Keller came back to us.
John Keller: We came home after that, I immediately wanted to hit the gym. It was a little hard, but I had the drive. The Learning RX program in San Antonio was also very helpful in restoring my brain synapse to their normal levels. But other than that, I was back. I was so thankful to God for allowing me to be with my family again.
JOHN’S RECOVERY WAS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF MANY PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER. TO WHOM DOES JOHN GIVE THANKS?
Jan Keller: The community, the family, we all would help and pray for John. Everyone just took their place: the Word of God, which we stood on, prayed on, and hoped on; the blog we created, with over 150,000 people responding; of course the nurses, techs, and staff who had never seen a case a bad as John’s but never let that really affect his rehab. They could’ve discouraged, been realistic, but now they use John as an inspiration throughout the hospital. We thank them so much for their patience.
As I said to the community at the Mayor’s Luncheon, “Evidently God answers prayers,” and Mayor Cortez added, “John’s story is a simple yet profound one! John could not pray for himself, so everyone prayed for him and we saw the results.
John Keller: My father is a pastor and he was the faith instigator throughout the recovery, having people praying and believing throughout the times when it really did seem like the odds were against us. My mother’s actions speak for themselves, of course. She knows how much I thank God everyday for her. And last, but certainly not least, we thank God. I love sharing my story in His name, which is what lead me to write my book. God gave us all the will as well as the opportunity for the right people to come together to perform what is nothing less than a miracle.