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The Gift of a Second Chance at Life

Karl Sutton


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“I came over the top of that hill and the first thing I saw was her car,” said Christy Knotts.

“When I got there, I was like, oh my gosh, Layla could be severely injured. She could be dead,” said Maddison Barbarick.

“I didn't see a body. I didn't even look for a body. I just saw the car. And then I saw the ambulance,” said Christy.

“I got in the back of the ambulance. I just put my hands on her, and I said, you know, 'I'm here. Can you hear me? Can you open your eyes? Can you blink? Can you do anything?'" said Maddison.

“I ran to the ambulance, open the door to her sister, prepping for her to be life lined to IU Methodist Hospital,” said Christy.

Layla Knotts frantically left a party in the middle of the night. She was found in a field thrown from her mangled car the next morning. She had flipped her car several times and now lay unresponsive as her sister, Maddison, helped prep her to be life flighted to a level one trauma center.

Her mom, Christy, remembered, “I met with a couple of different doctors there, a team that had assessed her and told us that things did not look good. Broken bones and fractures, ribs, fractures in her back, a chip in her skull. They said that they would potentially need to drill a hole in her head to relieve any pressure that she may have in there. We knew it was going to be a moment-by-moment process.”

“When she was diagnosed, you know, with a skull fracture, with a spinal fracture, and with swelling of the know, your thought is, is she's going to be mentally handicapped? Is she going to be able to care for herself? Is she going to be in a wheelchair? Is she going to be able to comprehend conversations?” said Maddison.

In small town Indiana almost everyone knew Layla was struggling to survive. The community lifted the family up in prayer.

“I was in the storm but had peace because I knew people were praying and the prayers are what was carrying us through that moment and through the whole entire thing,” said Christy.

“That first day was pretty rough. We found out about all the injuries. It was pretty shocking. They thought that she was going have to go to surgery to get operated on her hand and then like the next day, she woke up, decided not to do surgery on the hand. Said it was going to be able to heal on its own."

"They decided not to do any burr holes to relieve any intracranial pressure. So that was crazy. They were able to wean her off the vent, which is pretty remarkable. I would have thought she would have been probably on a vent for a week or two, or maybe even trached at some point because she was going to be on the vent for so long,” said Maddison.

“She had continued to heal miraculously, to be thrown as far as she was thrown out of her vehicle, through, we believe, the driver's side window and for her not to have lacerations all over her and need sutured was miraculous in itself,” said Christy.

“When we were talking with the police, we kind of got a synopsis that she was probably traveling over 100 miles per hour. There was a telephone pole and like an electrical box or something on the corner of the road. And she drove right in between the two somehow. If she would have collided with one of those, it probably would have been 100% totality, I would assume. But it's just really a miracle that everything played out the way it did. Speaking of in the field, I mean, she laid out there from like 1 a.m. to almost 7 a.m., like 6 hours out in the cold in 20-degree weather. Just you would have thought she would have died of hypothermia or something,” recalled Maddison.

Physical therapist, Amy Lueking, remembered her recovery, “I was very cautiously guarded, you know, as to what her future looked like in terms of, you know, cognitively and physically, because she did have a traumatic brain injury.”

“She was progressing through things one time after another. And it was really just remarkable to see how she transitioned through every step and every phase of it. And she wanted to do things, she wanted to write. She wanted to eat on her own. She was pretty resilient through all that,” said Maddison.

“During the course of her treatment over the weeks that I saw her, I was moved to tears many times just because the things that she was able to do as quickly as she was able to do them and as easily as she was able to do them was amazing. So, really you know, she was a miracle,” said Amy.

Layla's remarkable healing wasn't her only miracle. She also experienced a spiritual one too.

“One of the conversations I had with her was, do you remember speaking to God when you were in that field? And she said, 'yes, I do.' I asked her if she wanted to recommit her life to the Lord, and she said, 'yes,'” said Christy.

“I know that recommitting my life to Jesus in the hospital is one of the best decisions I will ever make in my life," said Layla. “I would have went to hell if I would have died. I know for a fact I was not living for the Lord at all. But now I am. And I am thankful because I love the Lord. And I know that He forgives me.”

“It has reset, Layla. It has strengthened her faith. It has strengthened us as a family. It has strengthened her relationship ultimately with the Lord. So for that, we are thankful,” said Christy.

“I would do it over again because it has changed my life. He has given me a second chance at life” said Layla.  

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About The Author

Karl Sutton

Karl Sutton has worked in Christian media since 2009. He has filmed and edited over 200 TV episodes and three documentaries which have won numerous film festivals and Telly awards. He joined CBN in 2019 and resides outside Nashville with his wife and four kids. He loves cycling, playing music, and serving others.