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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Staying strong: Missouri man sees growth at Madonna after roofing accident

January 03, 2022

David Betts enjoys the outdoors so much he made a career working outside. The father of four and loving husband enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family on his 16-acre hobby farm in Willard, Missouri.

A foreman for a commercial structure company, David was involved in a roofing accident in October. While at work, David saved a crew member from falling off the roof and in the process, fell off himself.

“I remember the whole thing falling and hitting instantly,” David recalled “I couldn’t feel my legs, and I knew something wasn’t right the second I hit the ground. I tried to stand up, and I couldn’t.”

David was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Springfield before coming to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals with a spinal cord injury.

“I didn’t even really know how to dress myself when I got to Madonna,” David said. “One of my first questions to my therapist was, ‘how do I put my pants on?’ They taught me that, and from there, I learned a new thing every day.”

 The care team in Madonna’s spinal cord injury program made sure to include David’s interests in his therapy. David cruised on Madonna’s campus in the Action Trackchair, an all-terrain motorized wheelchair. The chair’s unique design allowed David to stay level while navigating uneven landscapes.

 “I got to use the Trackchair, which is a large wheelchair you can use outdoors,” David said. “Those are some of my best memories here at Madonna. In therapy, we always talked about what I enjoy doing and they suited the kind of things that I’d need at home based on my interests and likes in life.”

David also enjoyed therapy on the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike, a machine that uses an electrical current to cause the muscles associated with cycling to contract. Now, after reaching several milestones at Madonna, David plans to get back to a busy life with his family and farm.

“I’ve just tried to cope and live with the situation I was put in, and trying to stay strong and learn everything I could so I can be independent when I get home,” David said. “I now know how to move my body where I’m not going to hurt myself more, how to go from one surface to another surface. They really taught me how to live with a spinal cord injury.”