LAS VEGAS -- An honor student in UNLV's foreign exchange program is facing a long recovery after being struck by a train in Costa Rica.
Gabrielle Newell, 18, was walking to school in the town of Heredia when she was hit by the train on Wednesday, April 3.
Newell has been studying abroad at the university in Costa Rica since the fall of last year. Even though the accident happened in Heredia, Newell was later transported to a hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica for more specialized care.
She has already undergone a number of surgeries, including the amputation of one of her legs and screws being put into one of her broken shoulders. Her mother and step dad have since made their way to the hospital.
Newell's mom talked with 8 News NOW on the phone about her daughter's progress. She said Gabby, as she is known to her family and friends, is slowly coming to grips with what happened to her.
"At first she couldn't look down. They would put up sheets to block her view but now she has a physiologist and they came in and met with her. It's baby steps," said Stacy Newell-Banks.
Newell-Banks said Gabby has been very strong through all the procedures. She is now facing rehabilitation and using a prosthetic leg.
Family and friends have set up a donation page called Showing Love for Gabby in order to raise money to cover the costs of her surgeries.
Newell-Bakns said her daughter has decided to stay in Costa Rica to finish out her school year. She is a honor student who is double majoring in Spanish and political science.
UNLV has about 500 students studying abroad in 26 different countries.
Some medical providers say they often deal with Hispanic patients who are afraid to seek medical care. It's hoped the opening of a new medical clinic will change that.