By Alyce Collins
AFTER traumatically being EJECTED from his lorry as it spun along a road, this man isn’t letting potential lifelong paralysis stop his noble recovery efforts.
A life of sport and adventure was brought to an abrupt end when Trevor Hayden (27) from Illinois, USA, was involved in a dramatic vehicle accident when the lorry he was driving rolled over several times, with Trevor waking up in hospital hours later, completely paralysed from the chest down.
Trevor was driving a lorry through a country road until the lorry lost its stability and started to roll over, resulting in Trevor being ejected from the vehicle.
Almost immediately after he woke up from surgery, doctors informed Trevor that he may never be able to walk again due to the extent of his paralysis.
“I woke up in a field to first responders around me, realising I was paralysed and couldn’t move anything except having minimal arm movement,” Trevor explained.
“I had no idea what to think, there were a lot of tears and pain before I really knew what was happening.
“It took me a few days of seeing all my friends and family constantly showing me love and support for me to realise exactly what the future would entail.
“After getting over the initial shock of what happened, I quickly started to focus on what my first step would be in recovery and I haven’t looked back since.
“I refused to believe the doctors when they said that I would never walk again, I hated hearing it. Initially they told me I wouldn’t regain much more movement than what I had retained from the time of my accident and that I was very lucky to have the dexterity and motor function I still did in my arms.
“The motor function in my arms seemed to return pretty quickly with basic therapy and I’ve since managed to regain the strength in my fingers and hands, so from there I knew recovery was a possibility.”
After spending ten days in the hospital following the accident, Trevor was then transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility in Chicago where he spent the next six weeks. Upon leaving the inpatient facility, Trevor spent the next three months still living in Chicago but in an outpatient facility, slowly regaining back his independence.
“I didn’t actually get to move home until March 2017, about four months after the accident,” he explained.
“I was living at my parents’ house at the time and that was a huge adjustment, being in a wheelchair and rolling into your childhood home where everything has been modified was a shock to say the least.
“I set myself the personal goal of moving back into my own house by the first year anniversary of the accident, which was November. After countless hours of help from my family, friends and the community, my house was remodelled so I could move back in.
“It’s been nineteen months since my accident and I’m living independently for the most part. I couldn’t do it without the help of my parents who are willing to go above and beyond for me. And my girlfriend, Allie, who is always there for me.”
Trevor does a lot of therapy to improve his strength and balance in the hopes that he will defy the doctors’ prediction of being completely paralysed for the rest of his life. Trevor’s therapy sessions are twice a week and on other days he has a stimulation bike set up in his home, or he does pool therapy.
Therapy sessions are done with a ‘Rewalk exoskeleton’ which helps to encourage the motion of walking and stimulate the muscles in his legs. Members of the local community, friends and family put together a benefit in the name of ‘Trevor’s Endeavor’ to raise money for the expenses of therapy and recovery.
“At home we focus on standing, which I do with a walker, and different movements on the mat to try to help improve strength,” Trevor said.
“Pool therapy is very beneficial because it takes away a lot of the weight and allows me to stand and walk freely between the parallel bars.
“My current goal is to get efficient enough in the exoskeleton to the point where it becomes a reality to have one for home use.
“The constant goal is to walk again and regain functional movements which is what all the therapy is working towards in the end.
“I continue to see improvement in all areas so it’s encouraging to keep pushing while I have the opportunity, I don’t want to look back and think I could have done more.
“’Trevor’s Endeavor’ is a true testament to people’s desire to help. The turnout was above and beyond what I could have asked for – the entire town seemed to be there. With that many supporters behind me, how could I ask for more motivation?”
Trevor continues his recovery on a daily basis, having already come incredibly far since his injury happened several months ago. Recovery will be a long process, but with such a positive and inspiring mindset, Trevor will keep making progress each day.
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