SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An SDSU cheerleader is learning to drive again after a rare medical condition resulting in the amputation of her right leg.
Following months of rehab, Brianna DeMarais is now in the process of getting back behind the wheel.
“Once I got used to it, it actually was easy like it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was gonna be,” said Brianna DeMarais, a cheerleader at South Dakota State University.
Her right leg was amputated in October, which means she now uses a left foot accelerator.
“It’s really not appropriate to drive with a prosthetic because you can’t feel how much pressure you’re putting into the gas and the brake. It doesn’t have quite the mobility that you need to move back and forth from the other,” said Jami Dalchow, an occupational therapist at Sanford Health.
Things that were once easy for DeMarais, like driving, are now taking some time to relearn.
“When we’re talking about driving with the left foot accelerator. It’s really about kind of retraining the brain because driving is an over-learned task and she has done it with her right leg. That’s been all she ever knew,” said Dalchow.
She’s happy to be able to drive again after the equipment is installed this month.
“Yes, because then I didn’t have to wait on someone like my parents, or if they were busy I’d have to wait,” said DeMarais.
DeMarais plans on taking her car back to college where she will cheer again with her teammates.
“I’m most excited about cheer, that part because then I can cheer with my friends and I love cheering and I want to fly so bad,” said DeMarais.
She is excited to once again be able to go wherever, whenever.
“I can’t wait to drive,” said DeMarais.
The SDSU junior is in the stages of making sure her prosthetic is the right fit. Although she isn’t expecting to be ready by the first game day, she plans to be back cheering next month.