Church van crash survivor uses music to overcome injuries

(WBIR) At only 16 years old, Kelsie Jones has a work ethic beyond her years.

She practices her saxophone 7 Days a week for at least two hours a day. But preparing for Thursday's halftime performance with the Seymour High School band, doesn't compare to how hard she's worked to be standing here.

"A year ago I didn't know that I would see my sister in this good of shape," said Hayden Jones, Kelsie's 13-year-old brother.

On September 16, 2012, Kelsie and her church youth group at Cedar Grove Baptist, were traveling home from a retreat on Chapman Highway. Investigators said a driver high on drugs hit their church van head on.

They lost their youth group leader and a youth member.Kelsie was one of 10 others injured in the crash. She suffered head injuries and broke her pelvis, femur, wrist, and a rib.

"The first few days she was in ICU [Intensive Care Unit] and her boyfriend brought her a CD player and her favorite CDs and said that you need to play these for her," said Michelle Jones, Kelsie's mom.

They put Kelsie's favorite song, "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North, on continuous play. Even though she couldn't talk, she heard the music.

"She wasn't awake, she wasn't coherent, she wasn't talking but she would mouth the words," her mom said.

Music took her mind off the pain in her first few weeks in the hospital. When she was able to speak, one of the first things she asked for her was her saxophone. Her band director, Rhett Butler, brought it to her to play.

"It helped in some way for her motor skills and cognitively too," Butler said.

But Kelsie worried even though she could play with band, she wouldn't be able to march.

"They [fellow band members] sent all kinds of cards and made videos of themselves doing the shows and sent it me. I still watch it all the time. And I remember sitting in bed watching it and thinking oh man I wish I could be out there doing that," Kelsie said.

"It's very difficult to describe how you feel when you watch your 15-year-old daughter learn to walk again," said Chuck Jones, Kelsie's dad.

After weeks of rehab and months of homeschooling, one year later, she is finally where she wants to be.

"It took a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a whole lot of prayer. But I got through it and music was always something I could go to and it always took my mind off the things that were going wrong," said Kelsie.

Kelsie said she still deals with some pain, but she wouldn't miss performing her "band family" for anything.

Butler assigned Kelsie two solos during their halftime performance this season. He said she deserved it.

"I have to tell you it's not pity that we gave it to her," said Butler.

Through tears in his eyes, Kelsie's dad watches each week.

"I've not seen it all the way through yet. I can't quit crying. You just have thoughts of what might could have been and how much fun she's having… you appreciate that more now I guess," Chuck Jones said.

"I had doubts that I would ever be able to come out and march like this," Kelsie said. "It's by the grace of God I'm here."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment