Olympian’s stepdaughter making ‘incredible progress’ after traumatic brain injury

  • Lee Lee Jones, the stepdaughter of Rio Olympic eventing individual bronze medallist Phillip Dutton, is making “incredible progress” in her recovery from a traumatic brain injury in December 2016.

    Lee Lee was injured when a horse she was cantering at home bucked, slipped over and landed on her.

    In an update on his website, Phillip shared that Lee Lee will be at the Nations Cup at Great Meadow this weekend, her first overnight stay away from home or the hospital since the accident.

    “It has been a little over a year and a half since that terrible day of Lee Lee’s accident. She has made incredible progress since then, and with Lee Lee’s hard work and determination we will be doing everything within our power to keep up the progress,” said Phillip. “Lee Lee’s head injury has really opened our eyes to the massive variations in traumatic brain injuries. No TBI [traumatic brain injury] is the same and each individual’s brain repairs differently.

    “Lee Lee’s head injury is what is called a diffuse axonal injury, which means that her whole brain is affected from the brain moving inside the skull and tearing of neurons in the process. This means that the damage is widespread and not localized to one side or one area of her body. There is still a massive amount of work to do by Lee Lee and a lot of support needed from all of us.

    “As a family, we are now transitioning from the shock and sadness and the critical care phase to an understanding of what is needed for Lee Lee long term and trying to incorporate all of this into our daily lives. It takes a lot of organizing but we are starting to make it feel normal. Every day we are excited and rewarded by Lee Lee’s progress, although it is slow.”

    In an interview with H&H earlier this year, Phillip said: “We’re very fortunate Lee Lee is alive and she’s improving all the time. She has to take so much medicine every day and a lot of the physical therapy is painful, but she’s gritting her teeth and trying to get through the biggest battle of her life.”

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    In this recent update, Phillip also thanked people for continuing to ask about Lee Lee’s progress, sending her good wishes and contributing to her medical support fund.

    “It is so inspiring and comforting to know that Lee Lee is still in everyone’s thoughts and prayers, ”he said. “Her days are filled with caregivers, therapy and special treatments that are not covered by insurance, so this is a huge help in making this possible and helping tremendously in her recovery!”

    Phillip, who has been selected for the US team for this autumn’s World Equestrian Games, added that the family “couldn’t ask to be staying with anyone better” for Great Meadow than “our role model” Forrest Allen, who was badly injured in a snowboarding accident in 2011.

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