Checking in with JT

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Checking in with JT

January 10, 2018 - 10:34
Following a devastating car wreck one year ago, leaving him paralyzed, Joseph Trafford, JT, is  hoping to walk again soon.  Photo by Cheryl Clanton

On Dec. 29, 2016 at 8:37 am, JT (Joseph Trafford) was involved in a single vehicle rollover accident on Mondon Hill Road and Atlantis Lane in Brooksville. No other vehicles or persons were involved. JT had veered off the road into wet grass and lost control of his F150 truck.

He tried to correct his truck but was unable to. He hit a couple of mailboxes and then hit the concrete culvert and that is what sent his truck into a rolling motion. JT was ejected from his truck right into the path of his rolling vehicle.

The truck rolled right over JT and continued rolling until it stopped on the other side of the road. JT had received life threatening injuries.

A year later we are checking in with JT. The accident made a clean break of his C5 vertebrae in his neck. The initial expectation was that he would be a quadriplegic. After a little while he discovered he had movement in his toes. He can now move his right leg well, but he can only move his left foot side to side and bobble his foot up and down. He has a five inch bar in his back to help him sit up.

At the trauma center, he was told that it usually takes a year before there is significant healing and with him gaining feeling after only two months it is likely that he will be able to walk again.
JT wants his independence back. Before the accident he was working full time and was living on his own. He also played semi-pro football. He worked for First Choice Contracting who renovates pools. The good news for him is that the the owner is a family friend and plans to have a job for him when he is ready.

The progress is slow, but every few weeks he can see a small improvement. When he sits and watches TV he tries to move his legs. He keeps working at it.

Currently, he is fighting the insurance to pay for rehab. He goes to physical therapy 2 to 3 times a week. He only gets 15 to 18 days a month for rehab and has to fight for more days. He could buy additional days, but they cost $20 per visit and that quickly adds up.

He has full mobility is his upper body extremities and can move both his legs. He is working on walking. He is building up the muscles in his legs and his arms.

At physical therapy, they use a hoist to assist him to walk. With his right leg his is able to walk, but he needs help with his left leg. With his progress so far, he is hopeful.

His goal for next year is to start walking on crutches and get his life back together. He really misses being independent and would like to start driving again.

If he is not able to walk, it is pretty expensive to drive. He has to take classes to learn to use handicap controls, but the classes are $100 an hour and he needs 10 hours. The handicap controls run around $1500.

He spent some time at Brooks Rehab and met lots of people that were injured. He was surprised that many of the people in rehab were injured falling off of chairs. He met a young man who was also active in sports before his injury. The young man was initially having a rough time dealing with his debilitating injuries. He was cursing at the nurses and very angry. At Brooks Rehab, other patients act as mentors. They asked JT to speak with the young man. JT spoke with him about what worked for him and a few days later, he was much more positive.

JT had some of those same feelings when he arrived at Brooks, he did not want to go to therapy and just wanted to give up. He also had mentors that came and spoke to him. He thought it was neat to see his mentors having success. One of his mentors is able to walk on crutches now and he was injured six months before JT.

JT says “You have to want it.” When he sees the progress it makes him want to work harder. If you work hard, you can get something back.

JT has a funding site https://www.youcaring.com/traffordfamily-727367.

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