Zach’s Story: Think. Ride. Live.

Zach survived ATV pediatric trauma accidentZach is a 14-year-old boy who loves to ride his age-appropriate ATV and wears his helmet. He and his friends were riding together as usual when Zach turned his ATV over in a ditch. They managed to get back to his friend’s house.

Zach was taken to the emergency room at their local hospital and examined. The local hospital did a standard trauma workup including CT x-ray scans. The hospital did not notice anything serious so they discharged Zach and told his parents to watch him carefully for any changes. His parents knew he had one fracture around his eye, and that he needed to follow up with an eye doctor.

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After several days his mom noticed that he had trouble eating and some abdominal pain. She took him back to their local hospital and they realized he had some continued abdominal distension. They gave him another CT scan and noticed that he had a tear in his intestines which was leaking into his abdominal cavity. He was transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital, a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center with many pediatric specialists not available at other hospitals. A pediatric radiologist reviewed Zach’s scans and realized the issue was more severe than expected.


ATVs weigh 600 pounds like a baby elephant


Zach was immediately taken to the operating room to repair the abdominal damage. Since it had been three days since his injury, he also had an infection in his stomach and part of his intestines had to be removed. His recovery involved eight follow up operations to get rid of the infection.

Even though Zach is a teenager and may not look “pediatric,” his body is still growing and changing, which required pediatric specialists, including a pediatric anesthesiologist and surgeon. Many specialty services were available to him because he was treated at a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. Zach was able to have teachers at the hospital keep him up-to-date on his schoolwork. He had pediatric occupational and physical therapists help with his recovery, as well a child life specialist that helps teenagers.

treatment at a trauma center improves chance of survival by 25 percent

Zack is a typical teen with active interests like hunting, fishing and racing. He was missing his fun life while he was “stuck” in the hospital so our team threw him a 15th birthday party and coordinated a visit with Richard Childress Racing crew members. Zach also enjoyed visits from our pet therapy program, as many of our kids in treatment do.

These special experiences help with the healing process, which can be physically and mentally straining for the kids and their families. We love that our hospital helps us give kids a better return to their life.


ATV basics wear a helmet never ride on paved roads only one rider at a time


Zach was in the hospital for almost a month, and required special rehabilitation care when he returned home since he was not yet able to eat solid food. Thanks to our Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, he had a detailed plan and at-home care to help him fully recuperate. Zach is now recovered from his injuries and has returned to his previous active teenage life.

It is crucial for injured children to get the best care as fast as possible, no matter where they live. We continue to work with our regional partners to improve education for treating children. To help fund pediatric education for regional healthcare providers in your area, you can support the Childress Institute’s Golden Hour Fund.


ATV all terrain vehicleFor more on ATV safety, view our video or download our fact sheet.


– Nicole Reavis, Performance Improvement Coordinator for the Pediatric Trauma Team at Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Brenner Children’s Hospital

ATV Safety think ride live

2 Responses to “Zach’s Story: Think. Ride. Live.”

  1. Amanda Williams

    Zach is my nephew! I now work at Brenners in IMC! I was working in the adult world but has always wanted to do peds! Seeing the care Zach got and how they all worked as a team inspired my to apply! I now am living out my dream of being a peds nurse and hope to make a difference in a child’s/families life the way Btenners did for Zaxh and our family!!

  2. rikki

    he is my brother it took me a long time to get over that . i love him with all my hart and i will never stop loveing him


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