Laulima: Family stays positive as teen recovers from traumatic brain injury


Tonight’s Laulima family has just one wish, and that’s for help in getting to the hospital to see their son, their brother, their uncle.

He’s on a long road to recovery since an accident earlier this year.

Elton Naki Jr., 17, is a starting corner for the Castle High School football team and a guard on the basketball team. He’s the older brother to two sisters, and a younger brother to a sister who gave birth last May.

Just three days after becoming an uncle, Naki was riding in the bed of a pickup truck and fell out.

He had brain surgery and was in a coma for 31 days, and had a stroke while in a coma. He remains at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

“It’s been so much to endure,” said Naki’s mother, Arlette Naki.

Arlette Naki says Naki’s doing better. He does rehab, working on mobility, trying to get him to walk, talk, eat again. They take him out of bed and push him around in his wheelchair, but recovering from traumatic brain injury will be a long road.

“We hang on to hope, because of how much he fights. He fights every day,” Arlette Naki said. “The more we see him fight, the stronger we become, and that’s what’s good about it, and that’s where our positive reaction to everything every day comes out from.”

Arlette Naki says they’re so grateful for the doctors at Kapiolani, and just knowing people are supportive, and that’s enough, she says.

But after we kept asking, she said transportation in order to get to Naki, while also getting his sisters to their activities, is something they’re working for. Right now, they travel by bus.

“One of our goals this year or at least at the beginning of next year is to get a vehicle that’s able to transport us to and from the hospital,” she said.

Other than that, Naki himself is their Christmas this year.

“This incident changed us tremendously, taught us so many things that people take for granted today,” Arlette Naki said. “Just for Elton living and breathing and having a second chance is basically our Christmas.”

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