Today’s guest blog comes to us from our partners at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson. At the heart of this piece is a belief that we hold dear at the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA)…..that finding the right care at the right time is critical to health outcomes. Once you have a chance to read the story, we’d like to encourage you to let us know what you think. Working together to drive better health for the people of our state is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!
At 19-years-old, Dante Jones was thrilled to be independent and tackling the world. The charismatic Salpointe Catholic High School graduate and University of Arizona sophomore hopped on his bike at his home by the university on November 7, 2016. He planned on heading to his parent’s house to pick up his brothers so that they could all ride their bikes to the gym. Dante remembers getting on his bike. “The next thing I remembered was playing games in the courtyard at HealthSouth with my family.” But in between that time was a week-long stay at the trauma unit in a Tucson hospital.
Dante was heading down Grant Rd. and had just passed Campbell when a driver turned left and hit him. Dante was tossed on top of the windshield and was severely injured when he was thrown from the impact. He was unspeakably fortunate – he was alive. But he would be more fortunate still. A physician who had just gotten off work was nearby and worked to save Dante’s life. And luckily, the accident happened not far from the Southern Arizona’s only level 1 trauma center.
EMS crews rushed Dante to the hospital. His most serious injuries included a traumatic brain injury, two broken ribs, a punctured lung and severe injuries to his left arm. When he was medically stable, he was transferred to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson where therapists assessed his needs and came up with a customized treatment plan for him. Dante brought the strong work ethic he learned through athletics to the gym every day. His therapists were his biggest cheerleaders for the 19 days he was there.
During this time, he chipped away at his deficits in speech and cognition. Occupational therapy sessions helped him learn how to care for himself. And physical therapy sessions pushed him to his limits. The combination led to remarkable gains and in less than three weeks, he was back to walking, talking and functioning like a teenager.
Dante walked out of HealthSouth on December 3, 2016 and returned to work a week later. He eventually returned to his classes at the UA.
“Now that I’m back in the real world, I use the tools all my therapists gave me. It’s almost like they are still with me. They told me I’d get to 95 percent quickly. It’s the 95 to 100 percent that’s going to be the toughest part, but I’m getting there,” said Dante.
KGUN-TV in Tucson put together a short video on Dante’s inspirational story. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.