Joseph was on his way to school on Monday, November 2,2015. It had been raining that day and Joseph ran off the road and overcorrected, hitting a culvert. This caused his truck to roll twice. Joseph didn’t have his seat belt on and was thrown from the vehicle.
When he came to he had no feeling from the waist down. He was taken to the local hospital where it was determined that he a SCI and a severe concussion. He was then taken by ambulance to Navicent Hospital in Macon, Ga where he had a MRI and it was discovered that he has sustained a burst fracture of the T12 vertebra, and vertebra T6, T7, and T8 were fractured. He also had a laceration on his scalp and bruised lungs. Joseph under went surgery and his spine was fused from the T10 vertebra to the L12 vertebra with 2 rods and 8 screws.
We (his family) were told by the surgeon that he did not know if Joseph would ever regain the use of his legs. Joseph was placed in the PICU that night and the next morning a different doctor reviewed his MRI results and informed us that the chances of him walking again were 0%. Joseph stayed in the Macon Hospital until Friday November 6 and then he was taken by ambulance to The Shepherds Center in Atlanta, Ga.
At the time of his accident Joseph was 16 and a junior in high school. He was a member of the football and baseball teams. Sports was his life. I remember when we got to Shepherds the therapists there told us that athletes could be either the best or worse patients. Of course our main goal was to get Joseph walking again and to not get behind in school. Joseph was adamant that he would walk again one day and never once did the doctors or therapists at Shepherds tell him that this would not happen. At Shepherds Joseph’s motto was “Clear your mind of Can’t”. We also learned (and Joseph as well) that a SCI is not a death sentence, Joseph was taught that he could lead a perfectly “normal” life from a wheel chair and still do the majority of the things he did before.
Joseph spent nearly 3 months at Shepherds for rehabilitation. He went home on January 20, 2016. And he walked out with only the assistance of a cane. He has been called a miracle and I believe it. But it hasn’t been easy.
Joseph still suffers from PTSD and the year after the accident was extremely hard on him. He has always known had fortunate he is but he had to adjust to a new way of life and give up the sports he had played since he was a toddler. But he still went to every Friday night football game though and supported his teammates. It was way harder on him that anyone realized.
He has been back to Shepherds a few times to see his therapists and doctors and to give hope to patients that are there now. Joseph even participated in Project Rollway for Shepherds. This helps to raise money for their adolescent floor. He has taken up golf and playing the guitar and the ukulele. He enjoys being an uncle and is trying to finish up school and get his communications degree. He wants to go into sales when he graduates. Joseph still has a bad limp and suffers from nerve pain. He can not run and his balance isn’t very good. But he tries. He tries so very hard.
Joseph really needs to go the physical therapy but our insurance will not pay.