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Andrea Briggs

Location, Denver, CO

A car accident left Andrea with broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. Unable to walk, talk, lift her head or feed herself, Andrea had to relearn basic skills.

On July 26, 2011, Andrea Briggs was on her way home from a Denver ice cream shop when the car she was in was broadsided by an oncoming vehicle. The 20-year-old college student sustained a traumatic brain injury and broken bones. Paramedics on the scene did not expect Andrea to survive.

“All my memory from January until [July] was wiped out,” Andrea said. “I could not walk. I could not hold my head up. I could not talk. I could not feed myself. I could not do anything.”

Earlier that summer, Andrea heard she made the dean’s list at the University of Colorado at Denver. Her family describes her as smart and sweet, with a ready laugh, ferocious spirit, giant dreams, and a joyful soundtrack.

Andrea was about to embark on incredibly important work, relearning all the skills necessary to be independent.

Together with her team of therapists at Craig, Andrea fought every day to progress physically and cognitively. “The people here, they push me,” she said, “and I love it because I know it’s going to get me to home base.”

Since her injury, Andrea has regained the ability to eat and drink, smile and laugh, understand stories and do math, and walk with a cane.

Her mother writes that, “All through the grueling, often painful rehab work, Andrea maintains her sweetness, her smile and her inherent toughness. She is fearless. She has taught us all the true meaning of ‘warrior.’”

Two and a half years after her accident, Andrea moved into a simulation apartment. She regained enough independence to transition to her own place several months later, in early 2014. Andrea said she is now learning how to cook, clean, go on social outings and use public transportation. She is back on Facebook, she writes a blog, listens to music and hangs out with friends. 2014 also marks the year Andrea returned to school.

“How far I’ve come makes me feel really, really, really great.” Andrea said. “I love Craig. It is like my second home.”

Team Members

  • Alan H. Weintraub, MD, FACRM Physician

    Craig Physicians

    Alan Weintraub, MD, FACRM, served as Medical Director of the Brain Injury Program at Craig Hospital from 1986 to 2020. Dr. Weintraub also served as Medical Director for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System, a federally-designated Model System of Care focusing on extensive clinical, research and dissemination activities.

    Over his tenure in the field of Brain Injury Care and Rehabilitation, Dr. Weintraub has served as Medical Director of several post-acute residential brain injury and long-term subacute brain injury programs. He is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a Consultant to the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation Medical Treatment Guidelines TBI Task Force.

    In 2011, Dr. Weintraub received the prestigious North American Brain Injury Society Award for Innovative Clinical Treatment. In 2017, he was honored by the Brain Injury Association of America, receiving the Sheldon Berrol Award for Clinical Excellence. In 2018 and again in 2019 he received Becker's Healthcare Top 100 Hospital Health System Physician Leaders Awards. From 2012 through 2020, Dr. Weintraub has been recognized as a "Top Doctor" in his specialty by 5280 Magazine and Castle Connelly/U.S. News & World Report.

    As a Brain Injury Medicine Certified Subspecialist and ACRM Fellow, Dr. Weintraub has special interests in predictive biomarkers for recovery, neuroimaging, disorders of consciousness, pharmacologic rehabilitation, sports-related concussion and the long-term consequences of brain injury. He is active in local, regional and national organizations and is devoted to the aging and long-term needs of brain-injured survivors and their families. For over 35 years, Dr. Weintraub has lectured extensively to broad audiences and written on a number of specific clinical and research topics related to both traumatic and acquired brain injury.

  • Kent Hamstra Director of Clinical Care Management

    Clinical Care Management

    Kent Hamstra MA, received his training and degree in Psychology from Hastings College in 1985 and Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Iowa in 1986. He has been a member of the Craig Hospital inpatient TBI clinical team since 1987. Kent has been involved with multiple projects involving TBI. He is a member of the Craig Hospital TBI Supervisors Group.

  • Ashley Goodson Outpatient CCM

    Clinical Care Management

    Bio here...

  • Nina Jensen Community Reintegration Specialist

    Community Reintegration

Gaining Independence

Andrea Briggs, Traumatic Brain Injury Patient in Pet Therapy at Craig Hospital
“I feel like my life has more meaning now. I’ve fought so hard, man. I feel like I am where I am today because of what Craig has done for me.”

The people here, they push me, and I love it because I know it’s going to get me home base,” she said. She worked hard with her team of therapists, and she is thrilled to live independently again. “I love Craig,” she said. “It is like my second home.

Andrea Briggs, Craig Grad 2011