Charlottesville attack victim dealing with grueling recovery 1 year later

Posted at 3:51 AM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 23:58:58-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WCAV/CNN) - It's been a year since a man plowed a car into pedestrians at a protest in Charlottesville, VA.

The attack killed one person and injured several others.

As the anniversary of those events approaches and more white nationalist rallies, and counterprotests, are planned for this weekend in Charlottesville and Washington, DC, Star Peterson is still trying to recover.

"I have two long scars here, they've opened these up three different times,” she said.

Two scars, four surgeries, and one year later, Peterson continues to heal after her leg was run over by a car that plowed into pedestrians during the Unite the Right rally last year, which killed Heather Heyer and injured many others.

"I had those two surgeries right after the attack, but then I got a pretty bad infection earlier this year and had to have two more surgeries, which were not part of the original plan,” Peterson said.

The infection caused a complication in her leg where she had to have two more surgeries and metal plates removed from her leg.

But her healing process isn't over.

"I had another complication after the most recent surgery in April, and so my leg is back in a brace,” she said. “I've lost all the progress I've made in physical therapy because my leg has to be immobilized."

Peterson gets around town with her wheelchair and crutches, but said it's been a long healing process.

She said she was "mostly frustrated just that the healing is so slow.”

“Like other survivors, I'm looking at possible surgery,” she said. “Like many of the other survivors, I'm still not able to work."

Peterson said the X-rays doctors took on her leg show she might need more surgeries to help her fully recover.

"They took another X-ray and realized that the bone was not nearly as healed as they hoped,” she said. “So now they're saying if it doesn't heal enough on its own, I'll have to have a fifth surgery to go put more metal in there."

But, she said, this experience has taught her a valuable lesson about the people close to her.

"My personal community looks out for me and they have my back,” she said. “I'm hoping that Charlottesville will show that they still support survivors."

With a second Unite the Right rally scheduled to take place in Charlottesville this weekend, the city is under a state of emergency so the national guard can be called in if violence erupts again.

Copyright 2018 WCAV via CNN. All rights reserved.