A nearly fatal accident results in a miraculous recovery
Although it had happened in the blink of an eye, Todd Kosenina remembers the whole accident.
“I remember it all,” he said. “After the truck stopped rolling, I yelled my friends’ names and heard nothing back. All I could hear was the CD in the truck radio still playing.”
Kosenina had been traveling with three friends to a hunting camp in northern Pennsylvania. It had been a long drive from his home in Imperial, Pennsylvania. As the truck took a bend, the driver lost control. The truck hit a tree and flipped three times. Kosenina was the only survivor.
“When we lost control of the truck, I curled up in a ball in the back seat,” he said. “I used to be a flight attendant and we were told that if the plane was going down, to curl up in a ball. It may have been what saved my life.”
Shortly after the accident, paramedics arrived. Kosenina was hanging upside down in the flipped over truck. His last memory of the accident is talking with the paramedics and then hearing the sound of the saw as the rescue workers cut the truck to save his life. Once the saw began cutting into the truck, Kosenina blacked out. He was life-flighted to UMPC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Kosenina had nine broken ribs, a collapsed lung, liver and kidney damage, broken bones in his arms and legs, as well as injuries to his head.
“The doctors told my wife I probably wasn’t going to make it through the night, and then when I did, they told her there was only a 30 percent chance I’d live, but here I am,” he said.
Kosenina chooses HealthSouth
After spending months in an acute care hospital setting, Kosenina recovered enough to begin rehabilitation. He and his wife decided he would go to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Sewickley.
“From the very beginning of my hospitalization my wife and I wanted me to come to HealthSouth,” he said. “My wife had knee surgery before my accident and had a great experience with the rehab she received from HealthSouth.”
Once he was transferred to HealthSouth, Kosenina had a similar experience with the hospital. Although he anticipated a positive experience, he was still surprised by how friendly and helpful all of the nurses and staff were.
“When I called a nurse on the bell, they came running in right away,” he said. “They even hunted me down to give me my medication, no matter where I was, even if I was in therapy.
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments of his time at HealthSouth was when he was able to do something he hadn’t done in months.
“When I got to HealthSouth, I was able to stand up and get out of bed for the very first time since my accident,” he said. “It was such a weird feeling. I had been in a hospital bed for more than 50 days.”
Motivated to return to family and life
From that moment on, Kosenina focused his energy on getting better and was determined to recover from his extensive injuries and HealthSouth was by his side to guide him step by step.
“They told me I’d be here for three to four weeks,” he said. “My goal was two.”
Although Kosenina ended up staying for longer than two weeks, he made great strides within his first few days. He was determined to recover quickly so he could return to his wife and his young son and daughter.
“I was determined to play soccer and run around with my kids again,” he said. “I wanted to be home with my family.”
His biggest challenge was learning to walk again, but he didn’t let the difficulty of the task discourage him. After only a few days working with therapists, he was able to walk without any assistance. His next goal was to regain his lost strength and balance.
In therapy, Kosenina continued to practice walking, as well as perform exercises like lunges, standing leg lifts, and tossing a ball.
“Every day I felt myself getting stronger and stronger,” he said. “An exercise that was a challenge one week, I was able to do the next week.”
The therapists working with Kosenina credit his strong work ethic, combined with a personalized treatment plan, for all he’s accomplished so far in his recovery.
“Todd always came to his therapy sessions ready to work,” Heidi Burtt, physical therapist at HealthSouth Sewickley said. “We’d work with him for three or more hours a day and some of the exercises we had him do were challenging, but he never gave up. After he’d finish one exercise, he’d be asking ‘what’s next?’ He was always ready for the next challenge.”
Kosenina’s story of success is the type of situation HealthSouth strives for with each and every one of its patients.
“Our goal as a rehabilitation hospital is to work with people, like Todd, who have endured something traumatic or have some form of debilitating diagnosis and help them regain independence, mobility and ultimately return to their everyday lives,” said Burtt.
Now that Kosenina has been discharged from HealthSouth and is with his family again, he has begun working toward his next goal.
“I want to keep my recovery going and run a marathon this spring,” he said. “I may not be able to run the full race, but I want to at least run half.”