Bouncing up After a Paralyzing Injury: A Tale of Love and Support

Kollin Gard, a fourteen year boy paralyzed from the neck down due to a trampoline accident is bouncing up to recovery, thanks to the resilient spirit of his parents and support of friends and community. Of course the boy’s courage and fighting spirit are also among the major factors that contributed to his overall progress.

Kollin’s story clearly demonstrates that acceptance to any physical impairment brought about by the accident is the first step to recovery and coping.

It all started last August 30 in a friend’s trampoline. Kollin was all set to do a double backflip, a trick he had perfected on the diving board, mastered on the trampoline, and even done while skiing. Unfortunately, Kollin did not land on his feet instead landing on his head, breaking his neck in the process.

The accident completely changed Kollin’s life and how he spends his time. Instead of going to the gym or to a football practice, he  now stayed with his speech therapist to learn how to swallow properly to help him learn how to drink and eat on his own.

He also undergoes strengthening of his arms and dexterity practice for his fingers.

The essential elements that accident victims can greatly benefit from are the following:

Acceptance

Waking up after a serious accident and learning the physical limitation brought about by an accident is truly devastating. It is normal to feel discouragement and self-pity and even grief or regret for what happened. Unfortunately, these negative but normal reactions may hamper recovery of the patient. It is more beneficial for an injured person to accept the reality and take stock of the current situation. Once the patient and his family have accepted the situation, they can start working on the treatments and therapy necessary for gaining certain function and coping.

Capacity for Adjustments

Kollin’s parents were no strangers to hospitals. In fact the two of them donated one of their kidneys to two of their sons needing it. Accident patient and family members will have to make necessary adjustments because of the accident. This include weeks in the hospital and going to rehabilitation treatments and therapy. This could disrupt the normal routine but those involved must be capable to re-arrange their priorities. This must do without appearing that it is burdensome to do for it may have an effect to the patient.

Hard Work

Rick Reigle, Kollin’s physical therapist said 95 percent of the battle is mental. Spinal cord injuries have a lot of gray areas and it is difficult to put a limit to what people with spinal injuries can do, he added. He admits that this might be true with Kollin who puts in 60 push ups when asks to do ten.

People with spinal cord injuries are expected to do a lot of hard work to regain certain functions or to strengthen certain body part such as arms to be able to lift/pull up the body to the wheelchair or to the bed. The sooner the patient learns by heart the exercises necessary for mobility and functions the better would be his perspective on the things to come. Accident victims must think that they can do it and pushing themselves to the limit is a good way to ensure success in therapy sessions.

Positive Outlook and Sense of Humor

Kollin Gard is blessed with a positive outlook and a sense of humor that greatly helped him in this most challenging stage of his life. He takes everything in stride now and although he has his moments, he used the pent-up energy and frustrations in accomplishing his tasks during therapy sessions. One striking comment that he had given to his therapist when commented that he did the tasks so well, he jokingly answered, “because I was upset”.  He simply demonstrated raw determination couple with sense of humor. It helped that his parents watch his sessions with smiles on their faces and encouragement for their son. They even celebrate every milestone and accomplishment Kollin had in the therapy sessions.

Support of the Family, Friends, and Community

The greatest asset that Kollin Gard has is his family. He was very lucky to have strong and supportive parents. He also has a friend who continues to spend time with him and make rooms for his limitations. Now, they are making plans to do things together although in a different way. His siblings also do things for him to show their love and appreciation. Now only that, his community is helping him recover by showering him with love and recognition in small but meaningful ways, things that are important to Kollin.

Being involved in an accident and coming out of it alive but impaired is truly a battle for life. Thanks to the innovations in science and technology, more help can be given to spinal injury victims soon. Let us just keep the love and understanding flowing freely for our dear ones to help them survive the emotional trauma of spinal cord injury.

If you have been injured from an accident and are seeking consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us at Christensen & Hymas.  We offer caring, confidential and free consultations to aid you.

 

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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