Family Weekend: Mom of the Year took care of daughter after car accident


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Karla Stout looked adoringly upon daughter Amy as the pair argued over which tasty treat to order during a coffee date.

They finally chose a toffee bar and a slice of blueberry pound cake, appearing more like friends than family.

While Karla Stout’s smile can lift almost any mood, it’s her happy-go-lucky attitude that made her the UI’s 2009 Mom of the Year.

“She is truly my greatest friend,” 23-year-old Amy Stout said.

But almost one year ago exactly, an evening out wasn’t an option for the women.

On Nov. 1, 2008, Amy Stout and her fiancé Jason Goodwin lost control of their car on Interstate 80, hitting a bridge’s cement barrier. The accident killed Jason and left Amy in critical condition.

Karla Stout arrived at the hospital around 2 a.m. and doctors had induced Amy Stout into a coma.
After two and a half days, during which her mother never left her side, Amy Stout finally awoke.

“The first word out of her mouth was Jason,” Karla Stout recalled. “Telling her he didn’t make it and watching her suffer was the worst event I’ve ever experienced.”

Less than a week after the accident, Amy Stout attended her fiancé’s funeral, her legs in casts. It took another week of feeding tubes, heavy pain killers, and long surgeries before she was released.

Once home, her mother vowed to get her daughter back to normal.

“Whatever stupid, funny tactless thing it took to get a glimmer of a smile from her,” said Karla Stout. “She’s worth it.”

An administrative specialist for the UI School of Art and Art History, the 43-year old from Washington, Iowa, was still working to recover from the flood that destroyed much of Art Building West during the summer of 2008 when the accident occurred.

But for her, her daughter came first.

Karla Stout took a two-and-a-half month leave from the UI to focus her full attention on her daughter’s recovery.

“She was willing to take a break from her life and completely cater to me,”Amy Stout said.

Karla Stout was there for her daughter during long doctor’s appointments, tough physical therapy exercises and the daily emotional distress.

“There were days I wanted to die,” Amy Stout said. “I didn’t want to get out of bed, but she hung in there.”

Nine months after her accident, on July 18, Amy Stout — a member of Iowa’s National Guard — was cleared by her doctors to pursue normal physical activity. By August, she had been sent to South Korea for an Army training exercise.

That month, Karla Stout faced another challenge: her boyfriend suffered a brain aneurysm.
Karla Stout said the strength she acquired from helping her daughter heal has allowed her to persevere.

“So much negativity pulls on our energy,” Karla Stout said. “Good things can happen from the bad.”

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