‘I think we got this.’ Survivor of Farmingdale bus crash thanks health care workers who cared for her
Farmingdale student Audrina Crocitto was severely injured in the marching band bus crash that left two beloved educators dead.
On Wednesday, she thanked Dr. Shaun Rodgers, the pediatric neurosurgeon from Cohen Children’s Medical Center who operated on her, placing screws and rods inside her to help stabilize her spine.
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“He’s the reason why I’m here today and why I’m walking, and I’m very thankful,” Audrina said. Her mother, Kristi Crocitto, said it’s been a long, long four weeks.
Dr. Rodgers explained Audrina’s injury, saying she had a “chance” fracture, making her spine “extremely unstable.”
Four titanium screws and two titanium rods along with artificial bone are now inside her to help her heal.
“If the bone is fractured so much and it dislocates, you can become paralyzed from the waist down. She’s very lucky that the bone stayed at least somewhat in place, and we were able to really correct her deformity. We were also able to remove the blood clot and really get her back on her feet very fast.”
The flight nurse and flight paramedic who airlifted Audrina to the hospital here on Long Island surprised her Wednesday. It was an emotional reunion. She credits them with calming her down because she was afraid to go on the helicopter, which she ultimately did after she said she relaxed and decided to go because “it was the fastest way to get better.”
Audrina recounted the moments of the accident. She said the bus swerved a couple of times and as it was “rolling” she was “launched” to the other side of the bus and then “launched out the window.” She said her back looked like it had road rash.
Audrina said it’s still hard to get around and her back hurts after walking for a certain period of time. But she remains positive.
“I know I’m gonna get through this cuz I got my family. I got the school. I’m going to do whatever it takes to heal,” she said.
Audrina had to be airlifted to the hospital
The Farmingdale student is a junior firefighter with dreams of a career as a firefighter, like her "Pop Pop."
She said despite her own injuries, she was able to assist others after the bus crashed, helping a friend to get her foot “unstuck” and advising her classmates to stay calm and still.
The teen is expected to make a full recovery.
She hasn’t yet returned to school and is currently doing online learning.
Audrina said she’s grateful that her friends are OK.
She is a proud “Daler” as Farmingdale students are known.
“We’re like a big family and we came a long way; I’m so proud of the school. I know no one’s gonna get over this. As long as we stay together, I think we got this.”