GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s safe to say Caitlin Little was a precocious little girl.
“Caitlin started walking at 7 months old, running at 8 months old. So, Caitlin doesn’t sit around waiting for anything,” remembers her mother Jennifer Little.
And when events change your life, you tend to remember exactly when they happened.
“Thursday, 5 p.m., Oct. 12, 2017,” Jennifer Little said. “Pretty easy to remember.”
That’s the when everything changed for the entire Little family.
Their daughter, Caitlin, was a freshman cross country athlete at Southeast Guilford High School that fall. She was at practice, on Oct. 12, 2017, when, as the story is told by several people who were there, some kids were goofing around and one kid got shoved and hit Caitlin in the temple giving Caitlin a concussion.
They were told – as almost every concussion patient is – that it will take time to heal.
“The sense was, well, if we hit a certain time period, then it will be almost like a light switch and all these memories will be back, she’s going to understand what happened, she’d go back to where she was,” said John Woods, a close friend of the family. “And the longer that went, the further out the projection was of how long it was going to take before that light switch was flipped and it just hasn’t happened.”
Sixteen months after her accident, Caitlin still suffers from anterograde amnesia, a condition in which she can remember not just what happened before her accident, but what happens on any given day — until she goes to sleep and her brain resets overnight, and she wakes up with no memory of the day before.
It’s her father’s job to wake her up, each morning and let her know what happened — that it’s 16 months later and plenty has happened that she can’t remember.
“I’m always afraid that she’s going to jump out of bed and tell me, ‘It’s wrong’ and ‘It can’t be.’ And why am I lying to her?” Chris Little said. “So I’m always very hesitant every day when I do it, but it’s my job. I have to tell her.”
See what Caitlin was like before her accident, and the devastating conclusion they came to after meeting with some of the top neurologists in the country, in this edition of the Buckley Report.
Subscribe to the Caitlin Can’t Remember podcast in the iTunes store or Google Play and get updates on Caitlin’s condition and her family’s search for answers, or you can just click on the podcast player below.