A little girl named Alexis Verzal is poised to become a rising documentary film star at only two years old. Her mother, Tiffany Verzal, began filming Alexis at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. The little girl has been in treatment and rehabilitation from a brain injury since April 13, 2008, when her day care provider notified her parents that something was seriously wrong with the child.
Investigators told the Lincoln Journal Star that the young Alexis Verzal’s injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome and that Alexis may have been thrown. The day care provider is currently awaiting trial and claimed that the injury was the result of an accident. Tiffany Verzal and her husband Brandon were initially told to take their daughter home and wait to see if her condition improved. Lucky for their daughter, they didn’t take the advice. Instead, they searched all over the country for the best rehabilitation center they could find.
The couple put their daughter into rehabilitation at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. After spending many hours and days around the staff and other patients at the hospital, Tiffany started documenting her daughter’s progress with a video camera she borrowed from a social worker who was there to gather evidence for the trial. At first, Brandon Verzal questioned the filming, but he eventually went along with the idea. The couple both had worked for a sports television show as part of Texas A & M.
The filming extended to other patients in the rehabilitation center and eventually became a full-length documentary. The film, called Pathways: from brain injury to hope, consists of the paths of rehabilitation of four patients of different ages as they recover from different types of brain injuries. One of the patients, of course, is young Tiffany Verzal.
The documentary had its premiere in Nebraska on Tuesday, October 12, and will be showing at film festivals for the rest of the year and beyond.
While the sometimes grueling rehabilitation process from Tiffany has taken over 18 months and will continue on indefinitely, the Verzals told the Lincoln Journal Star that they would be willing to spend the next 20 years helping their daughter recover from her brain injury.
The process of rehabilitation opened the Verzal’s eyes to all new ways of looking at brain injuries. Instead of constantly wondering what it is that their daughter would never be able to do again, they now focus on doing all they can to expand her possibilities.