Skylar Greenwood

Only 17 years old, Skylar Greenwood’s life dramatically changed when she was involved in a high-speed motor vehicle accident. To get help, Skylar had to crawl up an embankment – an impressive feat considering how significantly injured she was. Skylar sustained multiple traumatic injuries in the accident, including:

These significant injuries resulted in Skylar experiencing a number of complications and requiring several surgical procedures. Skylar underwent a bowel resection, an internal fixation of her sternoclavicular joint, and treatment with a wound vac followed by plastic surgery.

Beyond recovering from the various surgeries Skylar required, she faced another significant obstacle to overcome. As a result of the scapulothoracic dislocation and brachial plexus injury, the nerves connecting her left arm to her spinal cord had broken, leaving her left arm paralyzed.

These injuries would upend anyone’s daily life, but especially that of a 17-year-old. Before her accident, Skylar worked at a pizza place and enjoyed hanging out with her friends and going to the movies. Upon graduating high school, she planned to attend the University of Evansville, but her medical complexity altered that plan.

Skylar required ongoing rehabilitation to regain the use of her left arm and learn how to adapt to these new challenges. She and her mother, Carol, chose Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital for Skylar’s outpatient therapy. And over the seven months she spent working on her recovery at SIRH, Skylar made incredible progress.

When she graduated from outpatient therapy, Skylar had gained some notable function in her left arm, including closing her digits and thumb, regaining some feeling in the upper part of her arm, and some range of motion in her shoulder. Most importantly, Skylar can dress herself and perform self-care activities. She can also drive and return to work with a decreased workload.

Critical to Skylar’s recovery was the constant support of her loving mother, Carol. She remained by Skylar’s side, committing to supporting her emotionally while learning how to assist her at home.

Skylar with her occupational therapist, Jennifer Fellemth

The two expressed their sincere gratitude to the entire outpatient therapy team at SIRH, noting the impact of the “caring, compassionate feel of SIRH” that other facilities lacked. They extended a special “thank you” to Jennifer Fellmeth, Skylar’s occupational therapist. “Jennifer went above and beyond with the care she provided. She took the time to explain everything and teach me and my mom how to do things at home,” Skylar noted, while her mother added, “Jennifer was extremely patient and encouraging.”

“We didn’t know what to expect, but the whole team was amazing!”

“SIRH gave me my life back. I got very sad, and didn’t ever think I could get through everything,” Skylar said when reflecting on her progress. After completing her senior year online so she could graduate with the rest of her class, Skylar was accepted to the pre-nursing BSN program at IUS and will begin taking classes in the fall semester. She also plans to return to work at the pizza place.

Skylar has more surgeries in her future and plans to utilize SIRH for any post-surgical rehabilitation she may need. Regardless, she intends to come back and visit everyone who helped her to regain her independence.