Steve Slinker was riding horseback at a recreation center on September 29, 2012, with family. As he was riding, a woman and her two-year-old daughter appeared on the path and spooked his horse, causing it to lose control, slamming Steve into a tree. He was airlifted to the University of Missouri – Columbia hospital where he was diagnosed with broken ribs, broken facial bones, abrasions and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) with diffuse axonal injury, a form of extensive lesions causing unconsciousness.
Steve was in a coma for 10 days in the hospital. When he finally opened his eyes, he was unable to respond. Steve couldn’t sit up, walk, talk, feed himself or use his entire right side.
“After hearing all of my options, I felt like Rusk Rehabilitation Center was the best, but didn’t think he’d be able to go,” said Dawn.
On October 6, 2012, Steve was admitted into Rusk Rehabilitation Center. The first day was hard but Dawn recalls the staff going above and beyond to make them feel comfortable. Home was four hours away and Dawn was able to accompany him to his therapies and stay by his side.
It would be a hard road to recovery and Steve would have to relearn how to do daily activities again. After four months of intensive physical rehabilitation with Rusk, Steve’s determination paid off. He is now able to walk without assistance, run, work out nightly, drive and has returned to work.
“He is a real miracle,” said Dawn
Technology like the AutoAmbulator and use of water therapy along with having the right experts, implementing personalized therapy helped Steve get back to his life and family, including his two children.
At home, Steve is enjoying being an avid outdoorsman and hunting. He recently scored a 10-point buck on a hunting trip, his first since his brain injury.
“Everyone at Rusk, from the therapists to the wonderful cook, are still like family,” said Dawn. “The hard work, dedication and sincere concern and caring of all the staff, will not soon be forgotten by this family.”