During SUU student Abby Rosengren’s second semester at SUU, she was on a hike up Cedar Canyon with her friend. The afternoon took a turn for the worst. As she hiked along the trail rocks gave out from underneath her feet. Rosengren plunged off a cliff.
The accident resulted in a fractured tailbone, two skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury. She had a long period of time she would spend recovering. Music proved to be what helped her most with the healing process.
Rosengren is an English creative writing major, and she plans to be a teacher and editor in the future. She currently teaches history classes online, and is busy as a full time student. Although she has a packed schedule, music is something she continually spends most of her time on.
After the accident, she spent the next eight days in the hospital. As she lay in her hospital bed, her mother and friends sang to her. She specifically remembers them singing arrangements by Noteworthy, a female a capella group from BYU, to comfort her.
When she was finally released from the hospital, Rosengren was itching to finally play the piano and sing again.
“I have played the piano for 14 years,” Rosengren said, “and when I got home from the hospital, my hands were black and bruised. It hurt, but I continued to play because that’s what brought me some peace.”
Due to the accident, Rosengren had months of healing ahead of her. She struggled with processing information, and a lack of stamina and anxiety, which are common symptoms after brain injuries. To help combat this, she found comfort in music.
“Music is what kept me going – The Piano Guys especially. That’s what calmed me down.”
She slowly began to get better, relying on her family, friends and, of course, music. Almost two whole years later, she continues to struggle with headaches and forgetfulness.
“When I finally gained enough stamina to dance to the soundtrack of ‘The Greatest Showman’ with my little brother, I just remember tears streaming down my face.”
Rosengren is a member of SUU’s Opus Choir, something she has been a member of both before and after her accident. She is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Institute Choir.
“I love music, and I love performing. Music is kind of my life.”
She was quick to mention Dr. Krystal McCoy, who has been very supportive throughout her accident and after.
Dr. McCoy is the assistant professor of choral education at SUU. She teaches choral literature and methods along with many other classes. Because it has taken time for Rosengren to overcome her injury, Dr. McCoy was willing to work around what the recovering student could handle.
“When I tried to join choir last year, only 6 months after the accident, Dr. McCoy was incredibly understanding and patient. She welcomed me back in, and when I apologized that because of the anxiety and stress I might not be able to follow through, she told me she was just happy to have me there for however long as I was able to attend,” she said.
Now, Rosengren attends practice multiple times a week. She said one of the biggest advantages of being a part of Opus Choir is that she simply gets to be around people who love music as much as her.
Rosengren has combated many obstacles, but has continued to stick with music despite her challenges. Her next choir concert will be the Christmas concert on Dec. 6 at the Heritage Center Theatre.
Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Abby Rosengren