AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A 19-year-old Air Force Academy cadet is making a miraculous recovery at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Last year, Nishanth Kalavakolanu started having seizures.

(credit: Nishanth Kalavakolanu)

They got so bad doctors were forced to put him into a medically induced coma that lasted 9 weeks. Doctors came to learn that Nishanth has what’s known as F.I.R.E.S. or Febrile Infection-related Epilepsy Syndrome.

(credit: Nishanth Kalavakolanu)

“He’s had problems with his intestines and being able to eat. He’s had trouble remembering and learning how to walk. He’s had to learn all of that again and even being able to remember things has been a big struggle for him,” said Dr. Craig Press, Director of Neurocritical Care at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Dr. Craig Press (credit: CBS)

To focus on recovery, Nishanth had to put his dream of the Air Force Academy on hold. But the Air Force did something classy, they temporarily retired Nishanth, meaning he got to keep his benefits. During his stay in the hospital he’s been visited numerous times by fellow cadets and his superiors.

(credit: Nishanth Kalavakolanu)

“It’s helped me physically and it’s helped me mentally. It’s helped me by having a family I didn’t realize I had before,” he told CBS4.

(credit: Nishanth Kalavakolanu)

Nishanth has spent weeks in the hospital and has been desperate to get back to playing the violin, one of his passions. It just so happened Press knew someone who could help.

Nishanth Kalavakolanu (credit: CBS)

“When Nishanth and his family asked if anyone in the area could teach violin, I said, ‘Well I’m going out to dinner with someone tonight who happens to be my mom…’ she was able to come in and he was able to pick up on the muscle memory he had for the violin,” said Press.

(credit: Nishanth Kalavakolanu)

It was another bond that was able to help Nishanth get better.

“I think it helped encourage him and I think it helps reestablish those neural networks, those pathways in our brain that allow us to do all the things we want to do,” said Press.

(credit: CBS)

Nishanth still has a long road to recovery, but you can tell what he learned in the Air Force Academy has stuck with him.

(credit: CBS)

“I just want to put my best effort forward to get better both physically and mentally and then make my way back into the Air Force Academy.”

(credit: CBS)

Dominic Garcia


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