Hit-and-Run Victim Turns Tragedy Into Triumph

The year was 2006 and Rob Summers was at the apex of his college baseball career. His team took the NCAA Division I baseball title that year and Summers decided to spend the off-season perfecting his pitches and increasing strike-out potential. Summers was on top of his game and enjoying much success as a college athlete destined for greatness.

Just as the 2006 off-season began, however, tragedy struck the young man’s life in the form of a reckless, out-of-control driver who struck Summers with such force that even after 170 sessions of physical therapy he still could no regain the ability to walk or utilize his lower body. The driver never stopped to help, never turned himself and never was found. His role in Summers’ tale was simply to run him over and drive away.

Many victims would have given up on the idea of ever walking again. Summers has gone through hundreds of therapy sessions, many surgeries and every emotion imaginable. It wasn’t until his doctor, from the University of California, stepped in with a new, groundbreaking device he hoped would allow Summers to walk again. And he was right.

Summers is now standing on his own two feet thanks to the implantation of a device within his spinal column which has allowed him to regain much control of all he lost in the 2006 tragedy. Admitting to feelings of shame and embarrassment over his previous condition, Summers can move his toes, ankles, hips and walk on a treadmill.

Summers’ Los-Angeles-based doctor stated “the stimulation doesn’t induce movement….It lets the spinal cord hear the information from the legs.” It took Summers three years in physical therapy to become eligible for the device, which can only be implanted in certain specific scenarios. Once the implantation was completed, he was standing on his feet.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, based in Birmingham, Alabama, spinal cord injuries are overwhelmingly caused by car accidents; either drivers, passengers or pedestrian victims. 12,000 new spinal cord injuries are reported each year in the U.S. alone. Spinal cord injuries can cause a whole host of health problems for those afflicted including incontinence, difficulty breathing unassisted and emotional feelings of anxiety and depression.

Part of rejoicing with Rob Summers’ story includes advocating for all spinal cord injury victims by encouraging all who have been unduly injured in a car accident or hit and run incident to contact a personal injury attorney right away. With medical costs skyrocketing, victims should not have to face the dubious task of navigating the civil justice system alone.