Boy suffers unexpected brain bleed, prognosis uncertain, parents say

Colter Clements, 9, of Bosqueville, is battling a brain bleed which occurred suddenly on March 6.
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 1:58 PM MDT
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BOSQUEVILLE, Texas (KWTX/Gray News) - A child in Texas suffered a brain hemorrhage that his family said was completely unexpected. Six months later, his prognosis is still uncertain.

Colter Clements’ life suddenly changed forever on March 6. He was on spring break with his family when his father, Jason Clements, said the unthinkable happened.

“He was with all the kids, and luckily when he told his brother his head felt like it exploded, his brother actually took him seriously,” Clements told KWTX.

Colter’s brother Cooper took him to see their mom, Jill Clements, who said she at first thought her youngest son was just being dramatic.

“He just kind of walked up and said, ‘Mom, my head hurts, and kind of fell down on the ground … and then eyes rolled back in his head, and we called 911,” she said.

It was then planned for him to be flown to a children’s hospital in Fort Worth. However, the weather didn’t allow it.

Jill Clements said the delay caused them to lose time. She said, by the time they got him to a hospital and into surgery, the doctors said they had lost five or six hours and “didn’t know what kind of neurological damage was done.”

At the hospital, Jill Clements said Colter went straight to surgery to relieve the pressure in his brain.

He stayed at the hospital for 37 days, mostly under intense sedation.

“We switched off in hotels every night: she would stay, next night I would stay,” Jason Clements said.

Then, finally, Colter woke up.

“I was with my mom at the time, and I remember it was just a really powerful moment,” Jill Clements said. “He looked me in the eyes, and I knew he was in there. It’s a moment when you look in your child’s eyes and you see that they’re there, and we just knew that his personality was there, and he was going to be OK.”

Although he was awake, Colter’s hospital journey was far from over. After a month at the Cook Children’s Hospital, he went to an aggressive inpatient rehab facility in Dallas.

Colter finally came home in June as the community of Bosqueville lined the streets.

“We just knew that when he got here, he would flourish and thrive, and that’s exactly what he’s done,” Jason Clements said. “Being home with his brother, his pets, all of his things, his hamster, his cats, everything, it just brings a smile to his face and because of that he works hard to do what he needs to do to get back to where he was before.”

At 9 years old, Colter can understand a lot but still has to re-learn how to walk and talk through hours of daily therapy.

His parents said the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal was that there was no warning.

“If we could have known, we would have absolutely done anything and everything that we could have, so that’s probably the most difficult part of this,” Jills Clements said. “It’s like time stands still, you have these memories of the baby thats in the pictures around the house and my child prior to the bleed, and now it’s just a different version of Colter.”

Since Colter’s brain bleed, both of his parents have returned to work.

At first, Jill Clements, who works in a non-medical practitioner role, was taking on all of Colter’s care herself at home. In the last few weeks, they got a full-time home health nurse.

“I never knew what it would be like on the other side of it,” she said. “Be an advocate for your child, but also lean on your family, your community, and allow them to give. That was hard for both of us; it was hard to accept that.”

To help pay for his medical expenses, the community came together in August to throw the Colter Classic, a benefit for the Clements family.

“We couldn’t believe how many people were there, all of our friends and family, the whole community, it was bananas,” Jason Clements said. “There are no words for it.”

Through Colter’s struggles, he’s had an entire community cheering him on.

Jill Clements said the community has been behind Colter “since day one” and is thankful.

Jill Clements said the best support for her has been prayers.

“This has definitely strengthened our faith; there’s something about a life-altering event that brings you to your knees that will humble you pretty quickly,” she said.

They’re hoping the prayers will continue as doctors have found a cavernoma on Colter’s brain stem.

“It came to the surface, so you either risk another bleed, or they can do surgery,” Jill Clements said. “We’re debating which direction to go, that’s high-value real estate, so it’s not something you jump to do surgery on.”

In the meantime, Colter’s parents have put him back in school for a couple of hours each week. They said his school and classmates were very welcoming.

The Clements said Colter’s prognosis is uncertain, but they remain hopeful.

“One of the neurosurgeons told us he suspected he would make a significant recovery,” said Jill Clements. “The others will tell you that every child is different and every child has a unique recovery. It’s just an emotional roller coaster, just not knowing. It’s the unknown; we’re definitely not out of the woods yet.”