ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The road to recovery for victims of the South By Southwest crash is as emotional as it is physical. Mason Endres, 18, was hit directly by the car. Her condition has been steadily improving and she has set some big goals for herself.
Endres does rehab multiple times a week, working with trainers at Reavis Rehab Center in Round Rock.
“I’m on crutches and not a walker, which is awesome!” Mason said.
KXAN went along with her and her parents on a visit to the center on Wednesday. The main focus for her current rehab is her knees. She has to get her legs stronger before she can have surgery on both knees.
As a result of the crash, in which Austin Police say Rashad Owens drove drunk on a closed road and into a crowd of people, Mason suffered a broken neck, nose, arm, and femur. She also had a severed artery in her leg and torn ligaments in her knees. Doctors told her that her back didn’t break from the car’s impact thanks to scoliosis surgery she had years ago.
“I have two rods and 24 screws that have corrected my spine, and it’s straight now,” she said, “but it also probably saved my life.”
She says she’s thankful she took the impact of the crash and not one of her friends, who might not have fared as well. Mason still wears her SXSW wristband, and now wears a new tattoo on that same wrist.
“The music note is for ‘South by’ and my passion for music,” said Mason, showing the new body art. “And the angel wings are for my guardian angel.”
Mason’s mom and dad say their daughter’s loss of independence isn’t easy.
“She doesn’t want us doing things for her,” said Dan Endres. “But as mom and dad, that’s just what you do. I get told weekly, ‘Dad I go it. Dad I got it.'”
High school graduation is less than a month away for Mason. She hopes to walk across the stage.
“If she’s able, she’ll do it,” said Dan.
No doubt her attitude will see her through.
“This one bad thing has led to so many good things,” Mason said of the crash. “I knew I was going to recover faster than they would expect, and I plan on continuing to do that.”
Mason is enrolled to go to the University of Texas this fall. She will need three months of recovery following her two knee surgeries though, and her dad says that could mean she has to wait another semester before starting classes.