Manitoba

After crash almost killed her, nurse gains huge social media following while documenting recovery

After surviving a devastating car crash that nearly killed her, nurse Brianna Seewald has become a social media sensation by documenting her recovery with funny, upbeat videos on TikTok and Instagram. 

Brianna Seewald has nearly 290,000 followers on TikTok where she posts videos about her life

Brianna Seewald has become a social media sensation by posting videos and photos documenting her recovery from a terrible motor vehicle collision that happened last summer. For this photo, Seewald decorated her halo brace with Christmas ornaments and tinsel. (rainetaylor19/Instagram)

After surviving a devastating car crash that nearly killed her, nurse Brianna Seewald has become a social media sensation by documenting her recovery with funny, upbeat videos on TikTok and Instagram. 

Seewald was driving home from a night shift in August, heading towards Steinbach, when she T-boned a truck that was trying to cross Highway 210, near the intersection at Highway 12 by the town of Ste. Anne. 

"I just was so scared and I was in so much pain," she told Information Morning host Marcy Marcusa. 

"So I just kind of looked up at my windshield and I just remember saying to my grandpas, please don't let me die alone in here."

Seewald suffered a broken neck, torn ligaments in her back, and a disconnected artery in her back.

Still, Seewald credits a bystander as her hero for keeping her calm and still while paramedics arrived, saying it could have been so much worse. 

"He saved my life. If he wouldn't have been there that day. I would have either suffered a massive stroke or I probably would have severed my spinal cord completely," she said. 

He also helped her find humour in the moment, she said. 

"I remember him saying, you're a nurse, you're nurse, tell me your injuries, help me, help yourself triage so when the ambulance gets here, we can help them more quickly identify where injuries are," she said. 

"And so I made a joke and I was like, oh, right, I'm a nurse, I should be better at this, and I remember we had like a small giggle in that moment."

Seewald said that through social media, her family was able to find out who that bystander was, and they're hoping to meet once COVID-19 restrictions will allow. 

In the weeks following the crash, Seewald started posting videos about her recovery on TikTok and Instagram. 

While some show the realities of life after the crash, others show off Seewald's sense of humour. 

One of her first videos shows her in her hospital bed and her first steps after the crash. Another shows how she dressed up as Regina George in Mean Girls for Halloween. (In the film, the character is hit by a bus but still manages to go to prom in a cocktail dress and her halo brace decorated with flowers). 

Her most recent video, posted this past weekend, shows her getting her halo brace removed. That video has 6.8 million views as of Monday.

"It was a long four months with four different screws sticking out of my head," she said. 

"I was so excited because I knew that I was getting one step closer to being OK again."

Seewald says she thinks recovering from a major, life-altering injury can be really isolating sometimes, so she hopes her videos make people feel less alone. 

She also wanted to show that you can still have a sense of humour even after something terrible happens to you. 

"I think early on I wanted to show people that  I'm still me. I think like people were afraid, even in my own family that, oh my goodness, she suffered such a terrible accident, like how is this going to affect her for the rest of her life?," she said. 

"I wanted people to show that if there's one thing this accident can take away from me was my humour and my personality."

She says the response has been overwhelming. Seewald now has nearly 290,000 followers on TikTok, and her posts have received a whopping 5.2 million likes. 

"People fell in love with my story and they have so many questions, and every day I try to think of different ways that I can answer it, whether it's through comedy or just being very matter of fact," she said. 

"I've woken up to hundreds of messages from people all over the world, either telling me their stories or just encouraging me every step of the way. And it's just so amazing."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated Seewald was T-boned by a car. In fact, she T-boned a truck that was trying to cross the highway.
    Jul 26, 2021 7:03 PM CT

With files from Wendy Parker

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