North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Community supports injured teen

Brayden Knowles is recovering from a traumatic brain injury and two fundraisers are helping the family


February 7, 2018 | View PDF

Courtesy of Lisa Nobach

Arlington High School student Brayden Knowles giving the thumbs up sign as he recovers at Seattle Children's Hospital.

After a traumatic auto accident, 15-year-old Arlington High School student Brayden Knowles and his family are receiving support from the community around them.

On Dec. 26 Brayden was in a car accident with three other teenagers when their car was hit by a semi-truck.

Brayden received the most injuries and suffered a traumatic brain injury (a diffuse axonal injury, one of the most common forms of traumatic brain injury), facial fractures, pelvic fractures and a knee fracture. He received the brunt of the injuries in the accident.

Emergency responders had to use the Jaws of Life (a hydraulic rescue tool used to pry open car wreckage) to get to Brayden.

At the scene of the accident Brayden was rated a three on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GSC), according to his mother Lisa Nobach.

"A GCS of three is the lowest possible score and is associated with an extremely high mortality rate, with some researchers suggesting that there is no chance of survival," said Nobach.

However, in this case, it appears Brayden has beaten the odds. "They say he's a miracle," said Nobach.

After the accident he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and spent 28 days in critical care.

Currently he is recovering at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Two fundraisers have been started by friends and local community members to support Brayden and his family.

A GoFundMe page at is available for those who want to directly donate to the family.

That page is being run by a friend of the family.

There will also be a benefit "cupcake run" put on by community members this March in Arlington. There will be a kid's race, a 5K race and a 10K race.

For more information on the cupcake run go to

The funds are helping the family support Brayden and pay for future recovery costs.

"I've had to be off work all this time," said Nobach, who has largely been with her son in the hospital since the accident more than a month ago.

"So these funds are helping me to stay with Brayden," she said.

Bernadette Darling, a friend of the family, said that Nobach has been with Brayden basically every day.

"I think she's only missed one day since the accident," she said.

"As you can imagine it would be tough to have a child go through that kind of accident," she said, "but his mom has been phenomenal throughout this whole thing."

The recovery process will also continue when Brayden returns to Arlington, and Nobach said donated funds will help pay for items and recovery costs.

"For the things I will need in the future when he comes home," she said.

"It will be a slow process with Brayden's recovery, but he will continue to get stronger everyday. He's a fighter and determined to work hard. I'm very proud of him and the progress he's made," said Nobach.

Brayden is well liked in his community and the news of his recovery has made many happy. Just after Christmas the news of the accident was devastating to many as well.

"We were shocked," said Rhonda Moen, who works at Arlington High School with their counseling group.

"He's part of the school and this school is a close-knit community here. When one of us is hurt, we all feel it," she said.

Cousin and friend Alex Hermann said the news shook her.

"I was completely crushed when I heard the news, he's not just my cousin but my best friend," said Alex.

"It was very hard for me to get up for those first few weeks," she said. "It was hard to cope and I was so upset and heartbroken."

Many described Brayden as kind.

"He's a very likable kid, very sweet," said Moen.

Others said that Brayden is always able to make others happy.

"It's very easy for him to make a person laugh," said Alex.

"It's so cool to be around him, it's always a good energy," said neighbor and friend Ryan Brown. "Just his ability to make others laugh and feel happy."

Ryan has been friends with Brayden since they were in kindergarten.

"My first-ever memory of Brayden is meeting him on the bus and I accidentally poked him in the eye," he said.

He was one of Brayden's first friends allowed to visit at the hospital.

"Even though Brayden was there in a sedated state we were able to stay there for hours and chat with him," said Ryan's mother Caryn Brown.

In the beginning Brayden was not able to talk and had limited motor skills.

"When Ryan was leaving he would say 'I'm leaving bud, squeeze my hand' and Brayden reached out and all of a sudden gave him a fist bump, just all on his own, and it was cool just to see that improvement," said Caryn Brown.

"People ask me after every weekend how he is doing and it feels so good to tell everyone that he's doing so much better," said Ryan.

Students have been sending gifts with Ryan on recent trips as well.

"When they heard he was making visits down there, students approached him and said 'hey, I heard you're going down there and I made something for him, will you bring it down to him,'" said Caryn Brown.

Ryan has brought down many gifts including posters, stuffed animals and a blanket.

At the beginning stages of recovery doctors still didn't know if Brayden would ever talk again, however he now is able to.

"He called me on the phone and when I heard him I started crying," said Alex. "I couldn't believe I'd hear him talk again so soon. It's probably the best news I've heard in my life."

Caryn Brown said it has been a growing experience for both Brayden and Ryan.

"Who thinks their 15-year-old buddy is ever going to be in this state. And to see the two boys grow in this situation has been really heart-warming as a mom," she said.

She said that it is part of Arlington's nature to help local families in need.

"I'm a breast cancer survivor myself and the community came out and helped us out years ago, so it's nice to see it go around and have people share the love," she said.

Nobach wanted to thank everyone who has offered support or prayers.

"The outpouring of love, prayers, compassion and generosity has made a horrific situation somehow manageable," Nobach said.

"It's been phenomenal support from everyone here with the prayers from friends and community members, I firmly believe that is why Brayden is alive today," she said.


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