‘A miracle happened’

Isaac Higgins tells his story from near-death to recovery.

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Isaac Higgins, center, stands next to his friends as they don their #IsaacStrong shirts.

Isaac Higgins says science and miracles “both have their place,” but admits that it is nothing short of a miracle that he is able to walk his dogs and share stories with his family again. 

On a late June afternoon, Higgins says he made a poor decision that would change the trajectory of his life forever.

He fell from the roof of a friend’s moving car, and endured a critical traumatic brain injury that sent him into a coma for two weeks at Mass. General Hospital.

During that time of uncertainty, Higgins’ doctors and family discussed the possibility that he might never wake from his coma, and that if he did, he might be unable to walk and eat independently, or even speak. 

The family decided to reach out to the Vineyard community for prayers, and set up a GoFundMe to garner financial support for Higgins’ inarguably long road ahead. 

The page has currently raised almost $10,000 of the family’s overall $20,000 goal.

Just two weeks after going into a coma, Higgins opened his eyes — an image that Higgins’ family and doctors thought they might never see. 

Higgins began responding to dialogue and facial cues, and began moving his limbs independently. 

After multiple intensive surgeries, doctors began to consider moving Higgins out of the intensive care unit and into the recovery unit, as he was no longer considered to be in critical condition.

Doctors began speaking to Higgins, explaining to him where he was and the events that had occurred. They even played some of his favorite music to lift his spirits and aid in his recovery.

After Higgins was moved to the recovery unit at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center and underwent more procedures, his recovery began to speed up

Although Higgins was occasionally confused and disoriented, doctors told the family they would consider setting a discharge date based on the results of Higgins’ next MRI scan. By this time, Higgins was walking, talking, and eating normal food. 

His family created the hashtag #ISAACSTRONGMV and made wristbands and T shirts to garner support for Higgins’ recovery and give people something tangible to think of him.

Simultaneously, a social media initiative spread across Facebook, with many of Higgins’ friends and family changing their profile pictures to a picture of Higgins’ eyes. 

Now, Higgins is back home with his family, friends, and beloved dogs, and says he is excited to continue his life with a new perspective. “I feel incredible, and even though it’s a huge environmental change, everything feels right,” Higgins said. 

At first, Higgins said returning home was overwhelming, but now he is starting to ease back into a normal lifestyle. “It is really incredible for me to see how much everyone cares. I get calls from my friends and they are just crying, saying they never thought they would hear my voice again,” Higgins said. 

Although Higgins said he was never the most religious person in his family, he is convinced that a force was watching over him throughout the entire experience. 

“God had to have heard the prayers from everyone back home. I can’t explain the feeling, but I know that a miracle happened, and that’s why I am here today,” Higgins said. 

He thanked the medical staff for caring for him and making the entire process more manageable. “The doctors at Mass. General did some wild and truly impressive procedures. It’s a huge blessing to have my old life back, and to have another chance,” Higgins said. 

After surviving the experience and being able to learn from his mistake, Higgins said, he will look at life through a different lens from now on. “I learned through this whole thing that you need to cherish every little bit of life, even if it doesn’t seem important,” Higgins said. “It can all be taken away from you in an instant if you aren’t careful.”

Moving ahead, Higgins said he is excited to go back to work and live a sober life in the meantime, after making it through an incident where drinking contributed to a choice that almost took that life from him.

“I understand now that alcohol can consume you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to be slow and cautious with every step you take in life,” Higgins said. “I never considered how much my choices could affect my friends and family.”