Steven's story

Steven Williams standing with support of a rolling walker wearing a mask.

Steven “Steve” Williams doesn’t remember much about the accident that ended with him slamming into a telephone pole on his motorcycle. The 26-year-old HVAC technician does remember “waking up in the hospital with a doctor stitching my forehead.”

He sustained multiple fractures to his collarbone, spine, wrists and right thigh, and a ruptured spleen.

He underwent a series of surgeries at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center to repair his broken bones. Once stabilized, he required help for everyday tasks like eating, getting in and out of bed and walking short distances with a walker.

For Steve’s next level of recovery, he and his family chose Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation – Saddle Brook for specialized rehabilitation. He noted, “It was recommended to me by friends, coworkers and hospital workers.”

He stated his main goal upon admission was to “become as independent as I can with the injuries that I have.” Kessler’s physician-led team of rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists and other specialists tailored a treatment plan to meet his needs and goals.

During his stay, he participated in three hours of physical and occupational therapies daily that focused on strengthening his body and increasing his balance and mobility. Steve’s program included a variety of non-weight bearing exercises and innovative technologies, such as gait training with a body-weight support treadmill. A turning point came when he was “able to stand up and sit down repeatedly without issue.”

His care team also focused on improving his independence by teaching him the skills and strategies necessary to perform everyday tasks such as eating, dressing and getting in and out of bed. Steve knew his hard work was paying off when he was “able to use my hands to eat by myself.” In preparation for his return home, his mom participated in Kessler’s hands-on training sessions to be able to assist him with daily activities at home.

Steve also participated in group therapy sessions with other patients, which, to his surprise, he enjoyed the most. “I did not think I would like the group therapies but they ended up being my favorite thing to do here. I look forward to the group therapy sessions now.”

After just two weeks at Kessler, Steve made tremendous progress. “I’m able to do nearly everything on my own now.” He credits his care team, saying, “The rehab team was able to help me learn quickly and efficiently how to live my everyday life again. Physical therapy helped assure me that I was able to stand, walk and do everyday movement skills while keeping in mind all of my weight-bearing restrictions.”

“Everyone here is knowledgeable and polite. I was well taken care of the entire time,” he added.

Upon discharge, he was looking forward to “being able to walk more and a full recovery,” and planned to continue to work on being more independent through Kessler outpatient therapy.

Steve also learned a few things about the importance of patience and teamwork while at Kessler. “I learned that I can’t just power through the pain … I learned that it’s better to let the doctors and therapists know how I’m feeling so we can work through it together.”

What does Steve advise others facing similar challenges? “Take your time.”