Bart Hutcheson cries when he thinks about the moment. "[It was] extremely hard," he says. "But it's, uh, one of the hardest things we've ever faced. You walk into the apartment to introduce yourself to your daughter. We had to make some tough decisions."
Kayla's care was in the hands of Walla Walla family medicine doctor Robert Carmody.
"I didn't want to see her school interrupted if it didn't have to be, and I also wanted her to gain confidence," said Carmody. "Concussions can cause depression and anxiety is stressful, and I've seen that before."
The decision was made to keep Hutcheson in familiar surroundings -- to keep her in school.
A few seconds of home video is the only record that remains of those first dark days for Kayla -- a time when friends described her speech as like that of a toddler.
"She didn't know anything, and all the pictures I would show her -- we started with fruits and vegetables -- she pointed at a banana and said, 'We have one of those at home in our apartment,'" said Hazeltine. "And I said, 'You eat that.' She didn't know how you could eat that. I said 'You peel it,' and she had no concept."
Hutcheson had to relearn everything.
"Apples, oranges, birds, where her classes were," said Hazeltine. "But she relearned."
Hazeltine became Kayla's surrogate mother, tutoring her between classes.
Her teammates and friends did the rest.
"They had 'Kayla Care,'" said Hazeltine. "Those three [Johnson, Haney and roommate Jaimie Berghammer] would get up and talk, 'OK, who's got her lunch, who's got her here, who's taking her notes, who's taking her to class,' etc. And it lasted a couple of months, and it's just awesome."
Hutcheson showed "Nightline" a stick-figure drawing hanging on the refrigerator. "That was my first drawing," she said.
Sitting in class one day, she asked a friend why the man up front was writing on the wall and talking so loud. She didn't understand he was the teacher.
Hutcheson said day-to-day life is still intimidating. "There's a lot of things I don't understand when the teachers talk," she said, "so my friends help me, like, understand."
She's coming back though, slowly, relearning the basics of life. Relearning basketball. Relearning who she is.
Her father set up a digital picture frame in her bedroom, loaded with old photos to help.
"So I guess I broke my ankle," said Hutcheson, looking at a childhood photo. She said the photos have helped her to recover some memories.
"It's kind of helped me remember some people, point out who is who -- that's the athletic director at my high school."
A picture frame, school and friends -- this is Kayla's therapy.
"Nightline" asked Bart Hutcheson if his daughter is getting the care she needs, or whether she should she see a neurologist or another specialist.
"I just don't know what they would do," Hutcheson said. "From what few doctors I've talked to, what research I've done, nobody knows anything about it."
Kayla's family and coach have followed the advice of their local family practice doctor, who believes seeing a specialist may only upset Kayla.
Hutcheson's recovery hasn't been as clean as friends and family might think, she acknowledged.
"I get confused a lot," she said.
ABC News spoke to several of the nation's leading neurologists. All of them thought Kayla's case was exceptionally rare and in need of a great deal of further study.