After Banks Ready suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a car crash, the team at Regional One Health’s Elvis Presley Trauma Center provided lifesaving care that allowed him to progress to rehabilitation and ultimately lead a full, healthy life.

The Ready family always wanted to find a way to give back and help other patients like Banks.

Their generous donation allowed Regional One Health to open the Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym, a state-of-the-art facility that therapists use to provide rehabilitation targeted to patients with brain injuries.

The grandson of Irish-Catholic railroad workers, George Ready always strove to live by a philosophy borne of faith and family: “To be generous toward and to care for the less fortunate is to be a tiny bit like the nature of God.”

Those words guided him as he graduated law school, raised a family, and served as state senator and circuit court judge in Mississippi. They took on new meaning 11 years ago when his son Banks had a devastating car accident and was airlifted to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center.

“They saved his life,” George said. “After that, my wife and I always said if we were ever in the position, we wanted to do something for Regional One Health. Helping others and trying to do right by the less fortunate is a big part of our Christian beliefs.”

The Readys fulfilled that goal this year, cutting the ribbon on the Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym, a state-of-the-art facility for patients with traumatic brain injuries similar to the one their son endured and miraculously recovered from.

A midnight phone call

Their journey started May 24, 2012 when Banks was a student at Mississippi State University.

The Ready family commemorated the opening of the Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym in May 2023. The gym provides essential space and technology for brain injury rehabilitation.

The family is active in horse showing, and Banks was spending his summer in Jackson, working for a friend in the business.

“He was driving back to see his sister graduate high school,” George said. “He came over a hill near Grenada on I-55, and there was a wreck at the bottom. You can’t see over the hill, and late at night you’re not expecting stopped traffic. He ran into an 18-wheeler at the end of the line.”

The collision was catastrophic, but George said his son benefitted from a pair of miracles.

“The Lord was looking out for him. There was an empty ambulance coming back from the other wreck, and they stopped to give immediate aid. When they saw how bad it was, they called in a helicopter,” George said. “Also, he was just north of the Grenada exit, and that’s the cutoff to go to Regional One Health. The fact that he was taken to Regional One Health was a blessing.”

First responders couldn’t find Banks’ ID in the wreckage, but they found his hunting license. Fortunately, the Ready name is well-known in the area, and they were directed to George and wife Amanda, who immediately started driving to Memphis.

A grim prognosis

They arrived to learn Banks suffered a Diffuse Axonal Injury, where nerve endings in his brain were stretched to a point where they could no longer communicate. He also had a broken femur, which caused an embolism that traveled to his brain.

Dr. Martin Croce was one of the first people to give the Ready family hope after Banks’ injury. “In this situation, hope and faith are all you have to hold onto,” George Ready noted.

“The brain injury was so serious that there was talk about whether he would survive or function in any way,” George said.

But Banks, God, and former head of trauma Martin Croce, MD had other ideas.

Dr. Croce, now Chief Medical Officer, informed George and Amanda of two key facts: he would personally be in charge of their son’s care, and he believed Banks could beat the odds.

“In this situation, hope and faith are all you have to hold onto,” George said. “After that, we had both of those.”

A miraculous recovery

Banks stayed at Regional One Health for much of the summer. “I talked to friends in the medical community, and they said, ‘That is the place you want to be – it’s the best place in this part of the country,’” George recalls. “That turned out to be absolutely true.”

The trauma team helped Banks recover enough to be discharged from intensive care. At the time, Regional One Health didn’t have a specific brain injury rehab service, and Banks transferred to Shepherd Center, a leading rehab facility in Atlanta.

George will always remember the gratitude he felt to have the resources to ensure his son could continue to receive exceptional care.

Ever since his son’s injury, George Ready wanted to find a way to give back to Regional One Health and help patients with injuries like the one Banks suffered. The Banks Ready Gym accomplishes both of those goals.

That gratitude stayed with him as Banks grew more alert. As he spoke his first words in a voice barely above a whisper. As he started to walk, first with a walker and then on his own.

It stayed with him as Banks came home before Christmas, started having full conversations, got a job, got married, had a family of his own.

George kept thinking back to that guiding philosophy: “To be generous toward and to care for the less fortunate is to be a tiny bit like the nature of God.”

Creating more miracles

As an elected leader and father of a trauma patient, he understood Regional One Health’s critical role in caring for every patient, regardless of resources. He wanted to help more patients access the type of facilities Banks benefitted from.

George and Amanda talked over the years about giving back to the hospital, and when they were in a position to do so, a happy coincidence revealed the perfect plan.

George had become friends with a colleague named Brad Covington. During a duck hunting trip, Brad mentioned his wife, Melissa, had been one of Banks’ therapists.

Brad said Melissa had started working at Regional One Health with a team that was building a Disorders of Consciousness program modeled after the one Banks participated in at Shepherd.

When he told George the team didn’t have a specialized rehab gym, which meant they provided therapy in patients’ room and used hallways to help them relearn to walk, everything clicked.

The Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym

Therapists use the Banks Ready Gym to help brain injury patients regain consciousness and quality of life. The facility is an important part of Regional One Health’s Disorders of Consciousness program.

The Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym, a welcoming, state-of-the-art facility that gives therapists and patients the technology and space they need, officially opened in May 2023. “Our financial support of the Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym was made through our donor advised fund at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi,” George said.

They provided funding to develop the space and install specialized rehabilitation technology, and the facility is now helping ensure even better care for patients with injuries similar to Banks’.

“Many of our patients aren’t conscious yet, or they’re minimally conscious. Our goal is to get them emerged from a minimally conscious state so they can progress to inpatient rehab and the next step of their care,” Melissa Covington explained.

“We’re thrilled about what the gym adds to our unit. It’s a wonderful space, and the equipment is geared toward the needs of patients with severe brain injuries,” she said. “We can use this facility to help patients improve their quality of life.”

As for George and Amanda, they’re grateful to have come full circle. “We feel blessed that we had the opportunity to do this,” George said. “The biggest thing is to provide a chance for more families to have the opportunities we had, and for all patients in our community to have hope.”

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