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Mom says daughter healed spiritually, physically, emotionally after tragic accident

Mom says daughter healed spiritually, physically, emotionally after tragic accident

A dog, a team of doctors, nurses, friends and family members are credited with saving the life of a young teen. It was one year ago that she was severely injured in a single car accident.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, TJ Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

It was after midnight on a week night. Layla Knotts, then 16, lost control of her 2016 Chevy Equinox on a country road in Sullivan County.

Her mom, Christy Knotts, said her daughter left a friend’s house in a rush. She did not take her phone with her. When her mother checked her location and told her “good night” all indications were that Layla was tucked in safe for the night.

Christy Knotts said her daughter was traveling at a high rate of speed and was only about two miles from her home when the accident occurred. Police reports indicate Layla’s car became airborne, rolled over multiple times, and came to rest nearly 40 yards away from the road.

Layla doesn’t remember a lot about the accident in March of 2021.

As she lie unconscious for six hours in the 24-degree cold, a neighborhood dog became what Layla calls, a “guardian angel.” The part blue heeler, part Australian shepherd never left her side. The dog, named “Zoey” belongs to Kyler Knotts, unrelated to Layla. The pooch is known to be a free-range dog who looks after Kyler Knotts’ irrigation business.

Kyler Knotts' dog

On this night, Zoey became what Layla’s family considers a hero, and her first miracle. Zoey stayed by Layla’s side until help arrived. It was after 6 a.m. when Layla’s parents got the phone call.

Finding her was considered another miracle. “The accident happened around 1 a.m. There were no lights in the country and the accident knocked out the front end of her car including the headlights,” said Christy Knotts. Layla’s dad, Brad Knotts, had even driven by the area and didn’t see the accident. A passerby finally noticed the car and called for help.

When EMTs were summoned Layla’s sister, an ER nurse, arrived at the scene and rode in the ambulance that met a LifeLine helicopter. Layla is the youngest of four. The family considers the big sister’s presence another miracle. And Zoey - her protector - followed the ambulance to the helicopter

May 18th is “Trauma Survivors Day” - a time to celebrate not only survivors, but those who provided care and encouragement during recovery.

Layla’s story is one of hope. In the past year she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ivy Tech with a Healthcare Certification, attended prom, and was baptized.

Layla Knotts at prom

“One of the things Layla told me before she left the hospital is that if she died that night she felt she wouldn’t have made it into heaven,” said Christy Knotts. “She said if she had to do it all over again she would because it restored her relationship with the Lord.”

Layla was LifeLined to IU Health Methodist Hospital. She suffered a chipped skull, broken vertebrae, nose, ribs, and hands. She had hypothermia and pneumonia. She was intubated twice. Photos show her relearning to walk. Her family talks of another miracle. Layla did not have one single surgery. With the help of dozens of doctors and nurses, Christy Knotts said Layla’s body healed on its own. She remained at Methodist Hospital March 3-19, and at Riley Hospital for Children March 19-April 6, 2021. She left the hospital free of pain medication wearing a back and neck brace.

Layla Knotts in a neck brace

“Many people don’t live through this type of trauma. It’s been a difficult road but she’s been healed spiritually, physically, and emotionally,” said Christy Knotts. “We are so grateful for all the doctors, nurses and therapists and the wonderful support system from our friends, family and community. She had to learn to walk, talk and think again. God was with her every step of the way.”

Layla Knotts and family

In the past year Layla has spent her time working on the family’s 15-acre farm. She shows pigs for 4-H, attends bible study at Abundant Grace House of Prayer in Sullivan, Ind. and has spoken publicly about her accident and her faith. She has also visited Zoey and gifted her with treats. Layla is preparing to take her Certified Nursing Assistant final exam, and is making straight A’s at Carlisle Junior Senior High School. She plans to graduate in December and start nursing school in January.

“I always wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse but I’ve also thought about becoming a veterinarian,” said Layla. “I definitely was pulled toward nursing after being in the hospital with so many great nurses. I remember one who was in a serious accident and she shared that with me.”

An April 6, 2021, photo shows Layla and her mom and dad smiling and wearing t-shirts that read: “Strength for Layla.” It was the day she was released from Riley Hospital. A photo on April 28, 2021, shows another picture of Layla all smiles. Her mother reported that she met with her neurology team and her x-rays were clear.

“Many people say that the call we got is a parent’s worst nightmare,” said Christy Knotts. “A week after Layla’s accident a classmate and her sister were killed. That is a parent’s worst nightmare.”

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Trauma

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