After a month of dreary winter weather in Johnson City, Tennessee, the sun had finally peeked out and the temperature was hovering at 60 degrees on the early evening of January 31.For Christian Schmid, a 30-year-old graphic designer, husband and father of two young boys, it was the perfect day to go for a quick ride on his motorcycle.
The day became not-so-perfect in a blink of an eye. While Christian was riding around downtown Johnson City, the driver of an SUV pulled out in front of him. Driving at just 25 miles per hour with no time to stop or change course, his motorcycle was clipped by the front of the vehicle throwing him several feet from where the impact occurred.
Nearby witnesses rushed over to the scene of the accident. One witness called 911, while another witness, who was a trained paramedic, ran to his side to check for signs of concussion and injuries while discouraging others from removing his helmet or moving his body to keep from causing new injuries or making his current injuries worse.
Christian was taken to Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) where he underwent multiple surgeries to repair knee ligament injuries, a broken ulna and wrist as well as a shattered pinky. It was at the hospital where Christian was also told by an emergency room physician that his motorcycle helmet saved his life. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a motorcycle helmet is 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Christian came out of the accident alive with no neurological damage thanks to the helmet’s protection.
Upon discharge from JCMC, he was transferred to Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital, a joint venture of Mountain States Health Alliance and HealthSouth. He spent the next 20 days enduring three hours each day of comprehensive physical and occupational therapy working to restore his range of motion and balance and learning skills to navigate and self-transfer upon returning home to his family.
Getting home is just the next step of his recovery as he will be using a wheelchair for about two months until he is able to apply weight to his injured leg. He will then advance to using a walker and eventually to walking without assistance. Christian will also continue working independently on his therapy and attend frequent outpatient rehabilitation visits at JCMC in order to accomplish his goals of regaining full range of motion and eventually being able to ride a mountain bicycle. And, undoubtedly, Christian will continue wearing a helmet when he reaches that goal.