North Carolina Teen Regaining Memory After Nearly 5 Years of Amnesia

Caitlin Little
Caitlin Little.Handout

Caitlin Little is starting to reclaim memories after a 2017 sports accident left her with amnesia.

For nearly five years, every day was a new day for Caitlin Little, who had no memory of the day that came before.

The North Carolina teen was hit in the head during a 2017 sporting event, and dropped into a world of amnesia, where her brain reset every night and her father would have to tell her all that had happened yesterday.

But now, the track athlete is starting to get back some of her past.

“It does feel like a miracle,” her mother, Jennifer Little, told WGHP-TV.

Her father was more tempered.

“It’s not an overnight miracle, though. It’s been going on for almost five years,” Chris Little told the station. “Especially considering the fact that most people can do something like this for about two years, and then they run out of steam, run out of money, run out of hope.”

Caitlin's parents credit her personality with her ability to survive and thrive.

The teen, who recently graduated from high school, has determination and a good attitude, her father said.

“And trust,” her mother added. “She had to have trust in us to continue fighting and seeking. It’s a much harder battle if the person that is injured that you’re trying to bring out of this, if they’re not willing to do it with you, it’s almost impossible.”

The Littles have seen the country's best neurologists and visited 70 doctors, they said. Eventually, and thankfully, some have been able to help and Caitlin has been able to retrieve memories of past events.

“The first time I recognized without question that she was remembering things was when I got home from work, and she was able to recount for me something that happened at least an hour and a half earlier about two kittens,” her father said. “And of the five kittens, she was able to point out which two it happened to, which one got the worst of it, and then the prognosis for the one that got the worst of it.”

Caitlin has continued to run, when she is physically up for it, and her family thinks that exercise and remembering a race route have helped increase her capacity to remember.

“I kept praying and asking for strength and endurance,” Caitlin said after a recent race.