PHOTO GALLERY: Kelsi Poe aspires to regain skills in her new life after accident

Sunday, December 4, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 4:36 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 4, 2011

COLUMBIA — Since her accident at Quinton's Bar and Deli, Kelsi has not only survived — she's thrived. In her post-accident life, Poe hopes to accomplish multiple goals: driving a car, living on her own and playing softball again.

Kelsi Poe and Columbia College softball coach Wendy Spratt do the first of two sixty second wall sits on Wednesday afternoon. According to Poe's mother Stacey Hawkes, Spratt has been so involved in Kelsi's recovery that she has become like a third parent.
Kelsi Poe demonstrates improved balance to her mother Stacey Hawkes and softball coach Wendy Spratt before her final appointment at Rusk Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26, 2011. Poe had returned for regular check-ups since she was discharged on Dec. 2, 2010 after six weeks of care.
Kelsi Poe fields balls from Columbia College softball coach Wendy Spratt on Wednesday afternoon. A member of the softball team before the accident, Poe is determined to play softball again, although she currently serves the team as student manager.
Kelsi Poe studies for Basic Care and Prevention of Injury at her home in Jefferson City Monday, the first day of her Thanksgiving break. Poe studies an average of five hours a night to keep her grades up, partly due to her brain injury and partly due to new priorities. Although currently enrolled in only six credit hours at Columbia College, Poe competes to earn the top grades in her classes. She plans on working in the sports medicine or physical therapy fields.
Kelsi Poe greets pastor Lewis Curtis on Sunday at Dry Fork Baptist Church in New Bloomfield. Curtis and his wife Dorlas visited Poe almost daily during her recovery, and Poe and her mother have since begun to attend the church regularly. Poe believes that she would not have survived without God's help. "I feel that there are multiple reasons [that I'm alive]," Poe said. "And I'm out to find those."
Kelsi Poe's older niece Kadence Drewel, 7, drew a cartoon of Kelsi falling down the stairs, which Poe posted on her bedroom door. After she returned home, Poe's nieces would hold her hand as she climbed the stairs to to prevent her from falling again. "That's my aunt Kelsi. She fell down and changed," Poe's younger niece Hailey Drewel, 4, said.

Since the accident in September 2010, Kelsi Poe has achieved one unexpected goal after another, first by living and then by speaking, swallowing, walking and taking classes. On Wednesday, Poe ran on a treadmill for one minute. Currently, she's working towards driving, living independently, and one day playing softball.

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Courtney Shove December 4, 2011 | 1:52 a.m.

You might want to remove the photographer's phone number from the second photo caption.

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