Cameron's story

Cameron Schweitzer smiles following his successful recovery.

Cameron Schweitzer, an adventurous 24-year-old, enjoyed his construction job, but the weekends were for snowboarding, kayaking, four-wheeling and hiking with his dogs.

He had his whole life ahead of him until a tragic and severe car accident changed everything.

“I hit a tree on my way to work ... not sure what happened,” said Cameron. “I went off the side of the road through a ditch - 100 yards into a tree. I was seizing when they got to me ... I was in bad shape.”

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury, several broken bones and internal injuries, Cameron's life hung in the balance as he was flown from the crash scene to Miami Valley Hospital.

After a week of acute care treatment at Miami Valley, Cameron’s condition finally stabilized. At this point, his physicians recommended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program to help Cameron regain his mobility and independence. He and his family chose TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital.

“We have heard great things and it has a great reputation,” said Cecily, Cameron’s mother.

Upon arrival at TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital, the physician-led rehabilitation team worked with Cameron and his family to put a treatment plan in place. Due to the severity of his condition, his recovery plan required physical, occupational and speech therapy.

With the goal of regaining as much function as possible, Cameron embraced the therapies at TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital with optimism. Yet, Cameron's memory of the accident remained hazy, and he faced challenges of incoherence, broken bones and delayed mobility. However, his family was heartened by the fact that he never lost his sense of humor and he remembered all of his loved ones.

Indeed, his family was by his side at all times—Cecily remained a constant presence during his recovery, making sure he had the strength and motivation to push forward.

Under the guidance of his physician-led team, Cameron was determined to regain as much function as possible – and that started with intense physical therapy.

At the start, his physical therapists directed Cameron in conditioning exercises and walking using a bodyweight support system to build his confidence and prevent him from falling. They also used neuromuscular stimulation during therapy to activate his nerves in order to prompt movement in his muscles. With obvious grit, Cameron soon made excellent progress with his strength and conditioning.

In time, Cameron was able to transfer positions with supervision and walk up to 150 feet on even and uneven surfaces with a rolling walker. Importantly, he was also able to navigate a curb step with a rolling walker and close supervision, as he would have to navigate four curb steps when he got home.

In occupational therapy, Cameron worked on activities of daily living including bathing, dressing and grooming. His therapists noted the quick gains in this area too. With practice and his gain in strength, he became proficient in seated tasks and transferring positions. He took it slower for lower body dressing, footwear and seated bathing as he still needed close supervision. Nevertheless, he knew he would soon master these tasks.

Cameron also participated in speech therapy to work through his disorientation, short-term memory challenges and lack of attention. Through repeated exercises and activities, he demonstrated improved attention, problem solving and decision making by the time of discharge. Cameron's rapid improvement allowed him to gain more independence, alleviating the need for constant supervision. “He has done amazing and really quickly ... I think he has surpassed what they thought he could do in the short time he has been here,” said Cecily. “He was supposed to have 24-hour care when he left here and we don’t have to do that anymore.”

When asked about his dreams for the future, Cameron's aspirations were simple – he looked forward to being back home with his beloved dog. While his journey to recovery was filled with hard work and emotional challenges, Cameron never complained.

As Cameron prepares to transition home to continue rebuilding his strength and skills through outpatient rehabilitation, he offers a valuable piece of advice to others who may need rehabilitation: "Do it."  Behind his simple directive is a powerful message – embracing rehabilitation with motivation and determination can lead to remarkable transformations.