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6-year-old survivor of car crash now making miraculous progress

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Updated: 11/19/2013 5:21 am
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (WSB-TV) -- A 6-year-old girl who wasn't expected to survive or walk after a car crash took her first steps since the crash today.

It has been nearly two years since Briana Hudson's family car was hit head-on.

WSB-TV Channel 2's Diana Davis has been following Briana's progress since the car crash.

Now 6 years old, Briana was pulled from the wreckage of the family car after it was hit head-on by two teenagers who were driving their father's Corvette. Both of the teens were killed.

Briana had serious injuries to her brain and spinal cord.

According to her mother, Denise Hudson, doctors said the once-active little girl would not be able to walk, think or speak.

"They had stated if Briana did survive, she would be a vegetable," said Briana's mom.

Two years later, Briana has proved the experts wrong. Her brain has almost fully recovered; she enrolled in kindergarten and is doing well. Her physical recovery, though, has taken longer. She was in rehab for 10 hours each week at a Gwinnett County therapy center.

Davis was with Briana and her parents as she took her first steps in a body brace specially fitted by C.H. Martin Prosthetics, in Duluth.

The brace helps her swing one leg after the other, according to her physical therapist, Steven Doran.

"When Bri takes a step forward, automatically, her other leg will extend back," said Doran.

Doran says getting out of a wheelchair will help her spirits, as well.

"There's a big psychological advantage between being down in a chair and looking at someone directly in the eye," said Doran.

For her family, it's an achievement beyond what they'd ever hoped for, but Briana put it simply.

"It's great! I'm happy," she said.

Her parents, Denise and Danny Hudson, say getting Briana out of her wheelchair is all she has asked about for weeks.

"Just asking, 'Mommy, when can I walk, and when I do walk, can it go to the park?'" said Denise Hudson.

At first, Briana will use the brace just a few hours a day and only with the help of a walker. The hopes for her progress are high.

The hope is that in just two or three months, Briana will be able to walk with the help of the brace and a walker all by herself, which is much further than anyone ever thought she would come.
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