GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Despite a serious spinal cord injury, a Michigan man was able to walk out of the hospital that helped him recover all on his own.
Andy Hoffman, 47, said he hit a pothole on the ground while riding his motorcycle Sept. 4.
“It wasn't marked and it was filled poorly and my bike turned violently to the right and then to the left,” Hoffman said. “I rode it out for a little bit, but I couldn't hang on to it and it went down and flipped me over and I was pinned underneath my bike.
“I woke up, it knocked me out when I hit the ground. And I woke up and I was on kind of under my front tire a little bit, and I thought that I was going to be able to move and I realized at that point, I couldn't move a finger I couldn't move anything. I couldn't feel anything at all.”
Fading in and out of consciousness, Hoffman was later flown to Traverse City where he received life-saving surgery.
“He was pretty much paralyzed and couldn't even hold a cup, press a call button for the nurse,” Hoffman’s wife Lisa said. “He couldn't do anything for himself.”
A week later, Hoffman was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital for physical therapy. In the course of three weeks, something began to change.
“One Sunday night, Lisa and I were laying here,” Hoffman explained. “We were watching some football and I looked at her and I said, ‘I think I'm touching my face.’ I don't know what happened. But I lifted my hand up and I was able to touch my face and I just started crying.”
Eventually, Hoffman became able to do more.
“He’s been able to get up and he's walking now,” Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital RN Jenny Ponstein said. “He's able to feed himself Use those arms more he's getting a lot stronger. The pain has been under control. So we've really seen a like a fast turnaround with him.”
Hoffman was met with applause as he made his exit from the hospital Friday. He extended thanks to hospital staff, his wife, family and friends.
“All the words of encouragement that they gave me, different things that they’ve done. That’s something that really meant a lot to me,” he said.
Though riding his motorcycle was therapeutic to him, he will be hanging up his helmet. He plans to return to the scene of the accident on Sunday.
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