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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

College sophomore finds ‘room for hope’ after spinal cord injury

November 15, 2022

A true nature lover, Faith Collins enjoyed watching the night sky. Then, an accident while stargazing in 2022 left the 19-year-old with an incomplete spinal cord injury. First responders life-flighted Faith from her hometown of Alton, Missouri, to Mercy Hospital Springfield. Forty days after her accident, Faith chose Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals’ specialized spinal cord injury program to help her navigate her new normal.

“Madonna was willing to give me a chance that other places weren’t,” Faith said. “What I liked best about Madonna [was] there was a lot of room for hope.”

So, armed with optimism and tenacity, the Missouri State University – West Plains sophomore arrived at Madonna, ready to reach for the stars.

“I love a challenge, and people here were always thinking of new things for me to do every day,” Faith said. “It was very good at motivating me.”

Realizing her love of horses, Faith’s care team coordinated several of her physical therapy sessions with Windsong Therapeutic Riding Center. She immediately bonded with the horses during the on-site campus visits, and she learned new ways to do tasks that were once second nature to her.

“I felt so much relief and joy,” Faith recalled. “I could actually do something [I loved] again. It was different, but not completely different.”

Additionally, Faith, an avid hunter, visited the Nebraska Outdoor Education Center with her care team and practiced shooting with a bow and arrow. The recreation therapy sessions made a lasting impression on her outlook, according to members on her care team.

“She always had a positive attitude even if you could tell she was feeling down about something on a particular day,” Kathy Sievers, her physical therapist said. “She participated in two community outings with therapy, including the shooting range and an outing to Union College to practice accessing a college campus so she can return to college in the spring.”

After weeks of intense therapy, Faith has made incredible progress.

“When I first got here, I had some sensation in my legs but no muscle movement at all,” Faith said. “Today, I’m standing and walking with assistance. It’s pretty crazy and awesome.”

Now, she’s excited to return to home and, eventually, school, where she will continue to serve as the student editor of the scholarly publication, “Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozark Studies.” Her rehabilitation journey has also made her grateful for her family and the care she received at Madonna.

“Just a big ‘thank you’ [to everyone],” she said. “I’m so glad I came here.”

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