Motorcycle Crash Alters Life Course
He did everything right, from wearing a motorcycle helmet to slowing down when the traffic on Interstate 75 was coming to a standstill because of an accident up ahead. Even so, Bonita Springs resident Luke Crandall ended up with severe physical and brain injuries during what was supposed to be a normal February night in 2006.
Luke was in the far right lane, when a vehicle in the left lane swerved over and hit him, knocking him off the motorcycle. The impact was so great that his helmet was later found several feet from his body. His injuries included a broken jaw, broken bones in his legs and a serious brain injury, known as a diffuse axonal brain injury, as well as a left basal ganglial bleed that later caused his right arm to contract. He was flown to The Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital.
Collier Sheriff, Corporal Bence, started rescue breathing before the helicopter arrived. At The Trauma Center, a nurse named San, and Sarah from physical therapy worked very long and exceptionally hard to help Luke.
I don t remember any of it, Luke says. Now, at age 27, Luke is still working to recover from his injuries.
I had to relearn everything, like a little baby, he says. Some things came more quickly, like learning how to eat and walk. Others, like counting change and retaining long-term information, are taking more time.
When the crash first happened, the doctors thought if he lived, he would be in a nursing home, says Luke s mother, Jo Bordonaro. Most people don t do well after having the kind of brain injury he had, but his sister Jacquie and I couldn t give up.
Jo started keeping a diary of her son s progress a few days after the crash. She wrote in the journal for several months, chronicling his progress. Some days were better than others. It was an emotional and financial drain, but it was worth it, Jo says. I didn t give up because I didn t want him in a nursing home.
Luke eventually progressed to a rehabilitation unit, and then recovered enough to go home. Jo credits many of the staff at Lee Memorial Hospital with Luke s survival. So many people helped him, she says.
Respiratory therapist John Campbell helped Luke with simple tasks, like swallowing and taking in enough oxygen to breathe correctly.
My No. 1 goal for Luke, and for all my patients, is to get them back to being an independent person, John says. Someone like Luke is in a lot of pain and doesn t take in oxygen correctly. We try to get people breathing again. I m glad to have helped.
Luke continues to improve, seven years after his crash. I don t have a motorcycle anymore, he says. I still ride my friend s four-wheeler but now I drive a car. I just want to live long and be happy.
Pelvic Fractures Often Traumatic