In 2005, a car struck Marine reservist Maj. Eve Baker head-on while she was biking to work in Honolulu. She flew face-first into the windshield, shattering her helmet — which likely saved her life. Eve was immediately taken to the hospital and spent three days in intensive care.
Eve was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). For about two weeks, she had retrograde amnesia: She couldn’t remember anything that occurred before the accident or in the two weeks after. Years later, she still can’t recall what happened in those initial weeks of recovery — except for one question.
“I remember waking up … and my engagement ring was missing,” Eve said. “The nurses had put it in the vault for safekeeping. I’m pretty sure I said something like, ‘I’m a Marine; the safest place for that ring is on my finger,’ and they went and got it for me.”
To make a full recovery, Eve knew that she had to listen to her doctor’s orders, taking six weeks off work to rest and sleep. She relied on her fiancé, a fellow Marine, for support and help moving around during her recovery.
“I didn’t want to sleep by myself … so he would spend hours lying next to me in bed, reading a book, while I would sleep all day,” she said.
Today, Eve and her husband are an active military family with two young children. She’s also back on a bike, always wearing protective gear and teaching her kids to do the same.
“Helmets might be uncomfortable, and safety gear might be uncomfortable — or you might think it looks dorky — but it saves your life,” Eve said. “If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I wouldn’t be here today.”