Southwest Houston teen fights back after hit-and- run

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - A southwest Houston teen is back home with her family after four long months in the hospital.

She was the victim of a hit and run, slipped into a coma and has miraculously worked her way back to health.

Her mother, Monica Alaniz, still gets choked up when thinking about the day her 16-year-old daughter, Gena, was struck by a hit and run driver.

She recalled, "I saw Gena laying on the street. I just kept screaming and saying, 'That's my baby!' (Her sister) told me that Gena had got it by a car. They said that she flew in the air and landed on the hood of the car."

On June 27, Gena and her sister were on their way to the store to pick up water for their newborn sister.

Monica told Local 2, "When the light turned for her to walk, she took two steps, then she was gone.. my other daughter was two steps (behind her)."

The driver who hit Gena just kept on going. Gena was taken to Texas Children's Hospital.

Her injuries too extensive to completely list: her spleen was in two. Her pelvis broken in three, internal bleeding, fractures, even tire marks on her legs.

She slipped into a coma for three and a half weeks, but miraculously, awoke without surgery.

Part of her long road to recovery, rehab six days a week at Texas Children's Hospital's new inpatient pediatric therapy unit.

Gena told Local 2, "It's been good. I like the nurses. Playing soccer that is very hard when your legs don't work that good. It's hard."

Medical Director Dr. Alyosia Schwabe said a team of specialists at the inpatient pediatric therapy unit work with kids ages one to 21 like Gena who've undergone trauma that affects their ability to function, anything from strokes to heart transplants.

The unit fulfills what was a shortage of acute level rehab for kids in our area.

Dr. Schwabe explained, "In the past, we had to send kids out of the city and their care would be very fragmented and the families would be displaced it wasn't the right thing for them."

Dr. Schwabe said there's no question inpatient care leads to better quality of life for kids like Gena.

She told Local 2, "It's a huge integral part of their recovery. It helps to prepare the families for going back home. It eases that transition and the kids are going to have a better outcome too."

After counting down the days, Gena was ready to be released from the hospital.

She told her therapists and nurses, "I'm going to miss you so much. I'm leaving right now! I'm leaving!"

She still has post traumatic amnesia and doesn't remember anything about the accident, but her recovery is nothing short of a miracle.

Monica said, "It's really amazing. She should be fine because she's reading and doing things we didn't think she'd be able to do."

Gena will continue outpatient rehab, each day bringing her closer to returning to school and her friends.

Thanks to an anonymous tip, the driver who hit Gena was arrested the day after the accident.

He is now awaiting trial.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.