On her way home from work in July of 2021, Madison “Madi” Dodson’s car collided in a head-on crash with another driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. The accident left Madi with several severe injuries, including 22 broken bones. She was flown to CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, Nebraska, where she endured multiple surgeries.
“I was completely crushed,” Madi said. “It’s a miracle that I have my life, that I have my legs. The fact that I’m walking on them right now is beyond what I truly expected.”
After four long months at the hospital, the 23-year-old Nebraska Wesleyan University graduate came to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals to rebuild her life and return to the stage.
“My acting professor had to go through rehab at Madonna, and she was one of the first people after the accident to ask, ‘Where are you planning on doing rehab? Madonna’s the best,’” Madi recalled. “She was able to get her movement back. She had received the tools she needed to get back on stage, and I just knew that this was where I needed to be.”
When she arrived at Madonna, Madi couldn’t walk and needed the assistance of a ceiling lift to stand up. Slowly, her care team worked with her to begin the arduous task of learning how to walk again.
“When I came here, both legs and hips were fractured, and I started rehab on some broken bones,” Madi said. “Now, I’m getting up independently with crutches. I’m walking up to 600 feet with the crutches. I can stand in front of the sink and brush my teeth. That doesn’t sound like a big thing, but it’s huge.”
During her recovery, Madi often visited Madonna’s on-site chapel to practice singing. With her mother playing the piano, Madi sang Christmas carols to the delight of anyone who heard her. Her singing helped motivate her, and she hopes to one day inspire others.
“I want to be back on stage,” Madi said. “I want to be acting, whether that’s touring around or moving to New York City and starting to audition. That’s my goal; that’s my passion.”
And thanks to Madonna, Madi believes she’s one step closer to reaching these goals.
“Madonna has given me such a sense of confidence that I didn’t even have before the accident,” Madi said. “The confidence that the staff here has had in me has really helped me to develop confidence that I think will transfer to being back on stage, knowing that my body is capable of doing those things.”