Ben Trockman was an athlete and competed in motocross races for years. But, during a race in 2006 when he was 17, he flipped over the handlebars of his motorcycle and crashed. The resulting spinal cord injury left him paralyzed below the neck.
Ben spent the rest of his junior year at renowned rehabilitation hospitals, first at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center for three months and then three more at Kennedy Krieger Institute Center in Baltimore, where he worked with the same doctor who treated actor Christopher Reeve after his spinal cord injury in 1995. Ben benefited from some of the most cutting-edge rehabilitation practices in the world.
After months of intensive rehabilitation, Ben longed to return to his hometown of Evansville, Indiana. “It was time to get back home and get back to life,” he says. He quickly started his intensive physical therapy at Easter Seals Southwestern Indiana’s Rehabilitation Center with a therapist well known for her specialty -- working to help people living with spinal cord injuries build and maintain their muscle strength.
“I’d been to the best places in the world, and I didn’t know what to expect at Easterseals,” the 22-year-old now says. “But it’s a pretty darn great place.”
Easterseals in Evansville also has a highly reputable assistive technology program. A team of therapists, rehabilitation engineers and technologists worked with his parents to make their home accessible for Ben. They also maintain his high-tech wheelchair, which Ben powers through a straw—technology known as “sip-and-puff.”
Ben graduated from high school with his class, and spent the following year deciding what his next step would be. He went back to the Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for a few months, and then returned to Evansville to be with his family and friends.
Today Ben is a junior at the University of Southern Indiana. Everyday, innovative technology plays a role—from the ramp that enables him to get into his van to the voice-activated computer he uses to take tests, write papers, keep up with his friends on Facebook, and manage a fantasy football team.
Ben plans for a career when he graduates -- possibly in public relations or as a sports writer, following his passion for all things sports. When the time is right, his academic excellence and degree will be an asset and Easterseals can help with accommodations in the workplace.
“If you find the right field and apply yourself, there should be no limitations,” he says. “The key is for people to see past the disability.”
To learn more about Easter Seals Southwestern Indiana, visit http://www.easterseals.com/in-sw/