It has been nearly three months since Tripp Halstead, 2, was hit by a falling branch.
For the first time, his family released a photo taken of Tripp in the hospital just a few days after the injury. It is a picture that Tripp's dad, Bill, said was posted on Facebook to show followers how much progress he's made.
"It is pretty awesome," Bill Halstead said. "His hair is starting to come back in real good now, he is starting to look the way he did before, he is a little chubbier now. But, we know he has a long ways to go, but we are so stinking proud of the little guy for how far he has come already, he has come a long way fast."
Halstead said Tripp recently had a Baclofen pump installed in his lower right abdomen that directly administers the muscle relaxer medicine into his spinal column.
"It really helps keep his muscles from tensing up so he's not stiff like a board," Halstead said. "He's getting better, every day he is getting a little more, every day. But, it's kind of like Stacy and I say, even if it's a millimeter forward, forward is forward."
Tripp is even getting out of the hospital more, taking trips to the Georgia Aquarium and going other places.
"It's good to get out of the hospital," Halstead said. "You can see his eyes darting a little bit more when he's out."
Tripp goes through therapy sessions every day. On Monday, doctors were testing his brain function by asking him questions and having him answer yes or no by pushing buttons.
"They asked him several questions and he got every single one of them right, except for his age, and to get 7 out of 8 questions right it seems more than just a coincidence to us," Halstead said. "You can definitely tell he is in there, he is trying to come out, but he's in there."
Halstead said they posted the picture of Tripp in the hospital with tubes on his body to let people who follow his Facebook page know just how far he has come.
"You look at the old pictures, and it's hard to believe not too long ago we were worried about him even surviving," Halstead said. "And those pictures of him with the wires and tubes that was survival mode strictly. Survival is not something we are worried about as much lately. Now, it's just how far can we go? How far can we take this? It would be our ultimate dream to see him running around smiling and happy and playful like he was before. So, that is what we are going to aim for and get as close to that as we can possibly get."
Tripp's motor functions are improving as well. He is able, at times, to reach for items across his body, which is something Halstead said is a very difficult task for patients with traumatic brain injuries.
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