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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Missouri brain injury survivor grateful for Madonna’s Work Re-Entry Program

November 12, 2018

“I’ve always been a fixer. I’ve fixed things my whole life; it’s just what I do. If things are broken, I fix them,” said Roger Richards. 

During the first week of May, Roger was working high up on a building when wasps attacked him, causing him to fall to the ground. "I don’t remember the fall, but that is what they told me,” said Roger, an experienced heating and air-conditioning technician.

Roger’s 20 foot fall resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He was unable to breathe or eat independently when he admitted to Madonna’s Specialty Hospital. Roger’s aggressive therapy schedule that included physical, occupational, speech and vision therapies.  A unique program at Madonna’s Lincoln Campus motivated Roger to regain his life.

“I got into the Work Re-Entry Program. I did that during therapy, before I went to outpatient therapy. I worked with one of the maintenance guys, Kevin, which got me back into seeing a lot of stuff that I’m used to seeing,” said Roger.

“Just getting myself back to where I can focus  and see what I used to work on; that drove me to get better,” said Roger.

“I think returning to work is a big asset to people’s lifestyle. That is why we look at those goals here, at Madonna,” said Work Re-Entry Program Leader Virginia Schweitzer, COTA/L.

“They turned me over to one of the maintenance guys and off I went, doing real work,” said Roger.

“Seeing somebody progress being able to do their job again … it was very rewarding being able to see him do all of that," said Kevin Goertzen, a maintenance technician who mentored Roger in the Work Re-Entry Program.

 “Just knowing that I could still do it…that’s what it got down to…showed that I can still do a job," said the grateful Missourian. 

“I still want to be that person that goes out and fixes things; makes people smile, that’s me,” said Roger.

“I have a 13-year-old boy at home. He is going to be so happy to see me, walking around and being able to talk to him, being his dad again. That’s been my biggest goal, just to be Roger again."

Learn more about Madonna's Work Re-Entry Program and the comprehensive rehabilitation services that help patients like Roger successfully return to the workforce.