Joey is a combination of resilience and motivation.
On June 24, 2016, Joey was enjoying summer vacation when a friendly wrestling match with his buddy went terribly awry. The accident paralyzed 23-year-old Joey from the chest down. But Joey is a fighter. The Battle Creek, Nebraska native
was a decorated three-sport athlete in high school and played defensive back for Wayne State College. After being life-flighted to Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for immediate surgery, Joey spent a month in the intensive care unit before transferring to Madonna’s Lincoln Campus Specialty Hospital.
Joey committed to adopting a new lifestyle and not letting the accident define him. The number one goal was gaining maximum independence. Leaning on his faith, family and rehab team, Joey gradually weaned off the ventilator and mastered feeding himself. Joey fought through pneumonia, a collapsed lung and spasticity to master his power-assist wheelchair. Joey’s infectious positivity influenced other patients who benefited from his motivating words. Madonna staff, also impressed by Joey’s attitude, surprised him with a show of support wearing his inspirational, fundraising T-shirt.
Giant steps in Joey’s recovery included independence in all self-cares, participating in community outings, and completing a driving evaluation. His recovery slogan, #JPBStrong, exemplifies the young man’s determination. Joey recently graduated from Wayne State with a degree in business and marketing. He enjoys negotiating and aspires to work in sales. Joey continues to be a passionate advocate for people with spinal cord injury.