3 Incredible Stories of Recovery

Blue mountains in Australia

You can never predict the moment when your life is forced into a sharp, skidding halt. That’s the nature of freak, traumatic injuries.

Whether you know someone who has experienced a life-altering accident or you’ve been through one yourself, these three inspirational stories of recovery are worth reading. It’s truly amazing what the human body is capable of.

We start with an Olympic contender who survived an incredible list of injuries from a bike accident, to a young university student who was hit crossing the road. Then there’s the familiar yet devastating story for many Canadians: one of 13 survivors of a bus crash that killed 16 people.

The Amazing True Stories of Recovery

These stories will no doubt have you feeling shocked and somber at the start. Stick with them. The perseverance shown in each narrative from both the injured and those that saved them is what brings an uplifting ending.

#1: Janine Shepherd’s Incredible Recovery From A Bicycle Accident

She was on her way to Australia’s first ever medal in the Olympic winter games. A strong contender, she was training with her team on a long bike ride through the beautiful Blue Mountains in Australia. That’s the day her Olympic career ended, as she was struck by a speeding truck.

The list of injuries she sustained that day include a broken back, a broken neck, five broken ribs, an broken arm, a broken collarbone, several broken bones in her feet, massive blood loss, internal bleeding… it’s incredible she even survived.

But the first thing you’ll notice when you watch her TED talk, is that she’s walking around the stage. Despite being told she wouldn’t regain feeling from her waist down, she learned to walk again.

As for her career, she set her sights somewhere completely different and became a pilot. Shepherd delivered a powerful TED talk on her story that you can watch right here.

#2: How Dylan Williams Overcame a Traumatic Brain Injury

Dylan was walking home from the library when a car hit him and left him in a coma. Doctors told his family that if he woke up he might need help with everyday tasks for the rest of his life.

His mother wrote a moving article that documents the whole recovery process on The Washington Post. She credits his large support group of friends and family for a large portion of his success.

“Doctors say that in the early weeks and months after injury, when nerve cells are most likely to make new connections, there may be a “use it or lose it” phenomenon: Cells are more likely to reach out and form new synapses and connections if the trauma patient is stimulated than if he is mentally passive or less engaged socially.”

Rebecca Hubert Williams

Dylan took on six months of physical, occupational, and language therapies after being released from neurological intensive care. He eventually made a full recovery and returned to university!

#3: Ryan Straschnitzki Takes A Chance On Experimental Surgery

Many Canadians vividly remember the details of Ryan’s accident. A truck driver blew a stop sign in Saskatchewan and collided with the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. Sixteen people died, and Ryan was left paralyzed from the chest down among twelve other injured teammates.

A year later, he’s showing impressive determination to recover and reach new goals. He traveled to Thailand for an experimental surgery that implanted a device in his spine to help restore movement to his legs.

The results have been wholly positive. He began moving his legs again and will stay in Thailand until December for more therapy. If all goes well the implant can improve his motor, bladder, cardiovascular, sexual, and bowel functions.

Although the surgery does not typically lead to walking again, it has the chance to drastically improve his quality of life and his upcoming Paralympic hockey career.

However, this story is only beginning and we wish Straschnitzki and family all the best in the recovery process.

Traumatic injuries can completely alter our way of life and affect our families, too as they may need to step into new roles. After reading these stories, hopefully you have new inspiration into what the human body and mind are capable of — it’s truly remarkable!

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