Rick Tipton is seen here (front center) along with some of the Staff at Lee Co. Care and Rehab.

Doctors told 44-year-old Rick Tipton he would likely never walk again following a tragic trucking accident that nearly left him paralyzed last July. Fast forward to six months later and Tipton, an on the road truck driver for T & J Transport, will be climbing back into his new rig to go back out on the highways as a truck driver once again on Monday–a reality that he never thought possible. After three months of therapy at Lee County Care and Rehabilitation Center, a Signature HealthCARE facility, Tipton is back to his regular routine and doing the things he enjoys.

The accident occurred on July 22, 2012, as Tipton recalls traveling on I-30 in Arkansas just south of Hot Springs. He blacked out suddenly and doesn’t remember anything until he came to one week later in a hospital in Arkansas. Doctors diagnosed Tipton with bilateral pneumonia and an extremely high fever, which had caused him to black out. No other vehicles were involved in the accident, but the severity of injuries to Rick’s body was extreme.

Rick had broken seven bones throughout his body, including all the bones in both legs, and had also broken his right arm and shoulder bones. Rick was rushed to immediate surgery to repair his injuries. He now has titanium rods in both legs after his reconstructive surgery.

Rick recalls hearing all the details of the wreck and his surgeries for the first time and was thinking how life would never be the same again for him. But Rick says that “[he] was inspired by many wonderful people, including [my] wife and the many people at Lee County Care and Rehab, to work toward getting better.”

The staff at Lee County Care remembers when Rick first came to the facility that even wiggling his fingers and sitting on the side of the bed was a huge task for him. They attribute Rick’s determination to follow his plan of therapy and treatment, along with his awesome sense of humor, to his successful outcome and regaining his abilities to walk again. “They gave me the inspiration and motivation to want to get better. I never thought I would walk again, but look at me now,” says Tipton of his time spent in the physical rehabilitation program at Lee Co. Care and Rehab.

Rick says that he remembers all of the staff fondly–especially his rehab team. He recalls talking daily with Quality of Life director, Wayne Phillips, whom he promised that if he could ever walk again, he would go ginseng digging with him one day. Now that promise can be a reality, as both Phillips and Tipton discussed while making plans for their adventure to go digging this upcoming fall. Tipton would like to thank “the fine staff and now friends at Lee County Care for all of their help, as well as [his] wonderful wife Carolyn and [his] employer, T & J Transport, for standing behind him so faithfully during this rough period of time in his life.”

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