William Berry

We all have hobbies or activities we love to take part in. Rarely do we contemplate the “what if’s” that could result in serious injury. William Berry was no exception.

Attending the MBHA Youth World Show in Georgia, William was having a great time. One of his students began having an issue with her horse’s gait. Her parents asked William to help correct the issue. William agreed, having done this several times with his own horses. But shortly after getting into the saddle, the horse began to rear up and slipped. Both William and the horse fell backward onto the asphalt.

William sustained a traumatic brain injury from the fall. He spent eleven days in a trauma hospital before being released and flown home to Kentucky. Back in the Bluegrass State, William began his rehabilitation at Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital. For the first month, his recovery was slow, due partially to his cognitive impairments. But as his memory and communication skills improved, so did his overall rehabilitation.

“Everyone here pushed me, which was what I needed,” William acknowledged. “Aleksey, my inpatient therapist, probably pushed me the most. I kept saying that I couldn’t do something, or that it was too hard, and he told me that I needed to do it. Aleksey pushed me, and I did it!”

“My attitude changed at that point. I told myself I was going to listen and do what was asked of me by the staff. That is why I am here today, doing as well as I am. Everybody has been great. I couldn’t ask for any better!”

Once William could discharge from the inpatient program, he had two choices. One option was to continue his therapies with a provider closer to home. But William opted for continuity, working with the outpatient department at SKY. And he’s glad he did. “I come in and work with my therapists, and we have a good time while we do it,” he commented. “When you’re having fun, you don’t realize you’re learning. I see that in my therapy sessions and the progress that I’m making.”

William recognizes that through the progression of his therapy exercises he has gained the tools necessary to resume some of his daily activities on his farm. He has been working on mounting and dismounting his ATV in preparation for getting back in a horse saddle. William grooms his horses twice daily, which has improved his upper body strength and function. He completes nearly 80% of the steps he used to log each day.

The progress has William much closer to his ultimate goals — getting back on a horse and returning to his students in the Ag class and FFA at Barren County High School. “I miss my kids,” William stated. “If I could go back to teaching today, I would. We have a great working relationship, not just with the student, but their families, as well. I wish every school department could have the types of relationships we have. I’m so lucky to have those relationships!”

William realizes the way his brain functions has changed as a result of the accident. But he also acknowledges that with the support and guidance of his family and the staff at SKY, he can do what is needed for a successful recovery!