Nebraska family looks to inspire others after son suffers traumatic brain injury

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - CORRECTION: Abel's legal name is Abel Prather

Abel Leach, 3, suffered a traumatic brain injury on October 11. Leach is now on the road to recovery. His family hopes to use his story to inspire others. (Source: Jim Leach)

A Nebraska family is using the unimaginable to spark hope in others as their three-year-old son recovers from a traumatic brain injury.

While in someone else's care on October 11, Abel,3, had some kind of accident. He was flown to the Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha where doctors began treating him for a traumatic brain injury.

"There was so much shock initially that I don't really think that I was really paying attention much for the first 24 hours," said Jim Leach, Abel's father.

Doctors put Abel in a medically induced coma. He had bleeding on the left side of his brain, which moved his brain about a half-inch to the right.

To relieve the pressure in his skull, doctors drilled a hole in Abel's skull.

"If you could do something, if you could switch spots with your child in a situation like this, I would in a second. But the only thing you can really do is be there," Jim Leach said.

The incident stunned Leach's entire family.

"There's a lot of whys I think that for me went through my head," said Angie Leach, Abel's aunt. "You just try and be there as much as you can be, emotionally, and even then sometimes you just feel like it's not enough."

After about two weeks in Omaha, Abel was sent to a rehab center in Lincoln for physical therapy.

At first, Abel couldn't move his arms or legs on the right side of his body. But with some coaching, he's now able to walk.

Doctors originally told the Leach family Abel wouldn't be able to use his right arm. With some therapy, he's now able to raise it up.

"Abel is so much stronger than I am. So much stronger than I ever could've imagined a three year old could be. It's phenomenal. There's not a good word to explain how proud I am of that kid," Jim Leach said.

While Abel has made a lot of progress, Jim Leach said doctors are telling them Abel could still have anywhere from six weeks to six months left of therapy. After that, Leach said they're not sure what kind of treatment their son might need.

Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family pay for medical costs and any other expenses the family might face.

Another friend is selling T-shirts and other items to help the family. You can find the post on Facebook .

For now, Leach said he just wants to raise awareness of their son's story, and hopefully inspire others to see good in a horrible situation.