Rebuilding my life: Amber Fields talks about recovery - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Rebuilding my life: Amber Fields talks about recovery


A 2011 beating left Amber Fields so injured doctors told her family she would likely end up brain dead.

Amber's face had to be rebuilt with titanium and she nearly died. Authorities say her friend, Jason Browning, beat her nearly to death with a beer mug after he smoked Spice.

"I hated looking at myself in the mirror. Everything was crumbling down around me," Fields said.

In September 2011, days before the attack, Fields was just accepted to her dream school, the University of Georgia. Her life was close to perfect.

"Before everything, I was on the right track 100 percent. I was getting where I wanted to be. But in the course of a couple of hours, just one crazy night, and it was all over," she said.

On Sept. 11, 2011, Fields was hanging out with her friend Jason Browning at a house just outside Statesboro.

Authorities said Browning smoked Spice and got sick, then started acting strange.

"I was sitting on the couch and this thought came into my head - nothing provoked it. I know now it must have been God talking to me. It was like: Do you think Jason would hit you? I thought, I don't think so. And that's the last thing I remember," Fields said.

Police said Browning beat Fields in the head with an oversized beer mug. The beating was so intense, her skull collapsed and her face fell apart.

Amber was in a coma for nearly a month while plastic surgeons rebuilt her face with titanium.

"They would come in and say something bad. 'Oh we don't think it is looking good. If she lives, she is going to be a vegetable. She is brain dead.' And my mom would say, 'No, no, no - you don't know my Amber,'" Fields said.

Fields said her mother, Paula Fields, stayed by her side and prayed she would wake up.

Nineteen days later, she opened her eyes, but her hardest challenges were still ahead with months of rehab and therapy.

"One of the therapists said: 'OK, Amber lets put together a puzzle'. I thought, this is easy. It's for kids. But when I tried to do it, I couldn't. It was such a shock. I realized, Oh, my gosh, something really did get messed up that I didn't realize," Fields said.

When Fields was finally allowed to return home to Swainsboro, she said she was nervous.

"I knew I would catch people looking and staring and whispering about me. I couldn't handle that. I stayed in my room for a good bit after I got home," Fields said.

In September, Browning, was sentened to 20 years in prison for the aggravated battery charge. He admitted to the beating, but chose not to apologize to Fields in court.

"I'm not sure about forgiveness yet. I know I need to," Fields said.

As for Spice, Fields hopes her story will keep other people from trying the drug.

"It's like playing Russian Roulette. You don't know if you're going to get the pack that is going to ruin everything," she warned. 

She is determined not to let what happened to her ruin her life or define who she is. She is back in school and improving each day.

"I'm finally getting to the other side. I still have surgeries to go and things to do to get where I was before this happened, but I'll make it there. One day I'll be walking in Athens going to Georgia. I'll get there," Fields said.

Fields originally wanted to study speech therapy, but says she changed her major to physical therapy after her experience at Memorial.

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