GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It’s toughest for those who were closest to Caitlin Little before her accident to watch what she’s going through now.
"It's crushing to see a young lady who is so vibrant, so alive, so full of enthusiasm,” said John Woods, who is not only a close friend but the Little family's pastor. “And, now, there's almost a shell with Caitlin where that vibrancy has been diminished and it hurts."
Caitlin suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was accidentally hit in the head while at cross country practice in October 2017. She has woken up, every day since, thinking it’s the day after the accident, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. For each of the last 500 days, her father has had to let her know what her reality is when he wakes her up.
Caitlin is in such pain these days, the young lady so many loved to be around doesn’t seem to be there anymore.
Before the accident, she was: “The sweetest, most caring person you'll ever find. Always looking to make sure everybody's taken care of,” says her mom, Jennifer.
Running wasn’t her first sports love – that would be soccer and basketball. But she always enjoyed being a teammate.
“That child started, every race they did, she stayed at the finish line,” Jennifer said. “She would cross first. She was there until the last team they crossed the line cheering her friends on. That was very important to her. She would say, ‘I know what it feels like, the finish, and I have everybody cheering me on and they need somebody cheering for them when they cross.’ And she did that right up until the accident and just says a lot about who she is on the inside.”
Caitlin’s injury has affected not just her, though, it’s changed the dynamic for the entire family.
Caitlin was the glue between her older sister and two younger brothers: Daniel, who is 10 and Ben, now 13.
"Ben gets it. Ben is jealous, as a teenager should be. But then, when you talk to him, he'll say very clearly, 'I lost my best friend.' You know, that's the person that taught him every sport, you know, he followed in her footsteps and that was their greatest bond," Jennifer said.
“That's one thing I've noticed. I'm a bigger part of the family. I'm like the second mom, which I don't mind doing,” said Caitlin’s older sister, Sarah. “That's a part of being a teenager, you know, you get the car and you're expected to help out. You're expected to go to the store when someone needs something and that's OK. I don't mind that, but it's definitely like one child's here and the other two are over here.”
There is one thing Caitlin hasn’t lost, though, one thing she shares with her big sister. See that, in this edition of the Buckley Report.
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