Kayla Montaño, a member of ACU’s soccer team, is continuing rehab and recovering from a brain hemorrhage that she suffered in October.
Montaño had additionally battled Lupus in the fall semester before suffering a brain hemorrhage.
“I started feeling sick, getting headaches and throwing up,” Montaño said. “One week it was really bad and I had a fever. My friends were really concerned.”
She was admitted to Hendrick Hospital in Abilene for several days. However, the doctors could never conclude why she was ill. Days later, Montaño’s condition improved, and she was discharged.
The next day, she was getting ready when she collapsed in her home. Montaño regained consciousness only to suffer a seizure immediately after.
“I walked into the hallway, and that was one of the last things I remember because I passed out,” Montaño said. “My friends carried me to my room, and I woke up and my mom called, and that’s when I had a seizure.”
Montaño’s mother called ACUPD to check on her daughter, and officers found her unresponsive. They immediately called an ambulance to take her back to the hospital.
Once the doctors confirmed she had suffered a brain hemorrhage, it was decided that she would be airlifted to Fort Worth for better intensive care.
When Montaño woke up for the first time, she said that she was unable to speak or move her right side of her body. One of the doctors feared she may not walk normally again.
“The fact that I couldn’t speak didn’t bother me,” Montaño said. “I remember I’d do thumbs up and thumbs down. I was never bothered by not speaking; not being able to walk did bother me though.”
In total, Montaño suffered two seizures and strokes, a brain hemorrhage and tested positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital.
Her parents and little brother stayed in a hotel in Forth Worth while she remained in the hospital, and her older sister and brother would often drive from Houston to visit Montaño while she recovered.
“On Nov. 11, she was transferred out of the intensive care unit but was transferred back the very next morning due to breathing complications and a rapid heart rate,” a statement from the family said. “Once Kayla’s breathing and heart rate was stabilized, she was transferred into a COVID floor, where she remained quarantined until Nov. 19.”
Once she was released from quarantine, Montaño was stationed on the general floor of the hospital just in time to speak for the first time since the brain hemorrhage on her father’s birthday.
“I started speaking again on my dad’s birthday which was Nov. 20,” Montaño said. “That was really cool.”
While she had improved, speech and physical therapy became a part of her daily routine.
“It was hard because I was always tired. I would go through therapy every single day for three hours,” Montaño said. “I felt a lot of motivation though because the nurses were always encouraging me.”
She said her progress in the past several months has been challenging but encouraging. Montaño and her family thank God for her recovery since October.
“I couldn’t get out of my bed, but now I can,” Montaño said. “We started using a soccer ball in therapy, so that was really cool.”
Despite all her efforts, she credits her support group by motivating her to recover in therapy.
“What really helped me a lot was getting a lot of letters,” Montaño said. “I got a lot of letters from my team and people from school and back home. I think that’s what really pushed me, and I really appreciate that.”
Alyssia Anuat, a junior defender on the soccer team, is one of Montaño’s closest friends. Anuat said she’s incredibly thankful to see Montaño progress in her recovery.
“It’s definitely been a blessing to see how much she’s progressed,” Anuat said. “It’s been a physical example of the power of prayer. It’s definitely been overwhelming where she was in November compared to now.”
While continuing therapy, Montaño has also returned to online classes for the spring semester. She’s taking three classes and plans to take two more over the summer and hopes to return to campus in August.
“I’ll be behind one semester, but it’s OK,” Montaño said. “At least I’ll be back for the fall semester.”
While her recovery continues, Montaño believes her time playing soccer for the Wildcats has reached its conclusion. However, she’s still thankful for the chance to return.
“I don’t think I’ll fully be able to play soccer, but that’s OK,” Montaño said. “I think I still have a spot on the team, so that’s cool. As long as I can still be on the team, that’s great.”
You can assist the Montaño family by offsetting medical costs with the link to their GoFundMe page.