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Turning a Tragedy into a New Beginning

As a high school student, Joey Mallin was passionate about sports.  He played soccer every day and was looking forward to his life after graduation.  As is often the case in life, things didn’t exactly go according to plan and Joey was severely injured in a car accident.  Now, more than a year after the accident, Joey has made a nearly full recovery and his experiences have given him a new outlook on life - including a new calling: he’ll be studying to become a physical therapist!  Here’s how Joey Mallin turned a tragedy into a new beginning.

“It was October 22nd, 2017, 5: 00A.M,” Joey recalls.  “I was driving with my friend, and I had apparently fallen asleep behind the wheel.  I swerved off the road and ran into a tree; the next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital.”

When he regained consciousness, Joey wasn’t sure exactly what happened but the doctors at Kennestone Hospital informed him that he was in an accident.  His hip was broken and his thumb and several fingers on his right hand had been fractured.  He also suffered a tear to his Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), which is one of the ligaments that attach the thighbone to the shin.  Joey’s mind raced to comprehend everything that had happened to him and immediately started to worry, “…about myself and if I was going to leave the hospital the same as I was before.”

Over the course of his two-month hospital stay, Joey had to overcome a number of challenges.  Although Dr. Jennifer Bruggers and Dr. Ryan Chen were able to surgically repair his broken hip, it was still difficult for him to walk, especially with the PCL tear sapping the strength from his right leg.  Joey’s hand was also devastated; with most of his fingers and the thumb on his right hand shattered, Dr. Anuj Netto had his work cut out for him. He skillfully completed the difficult repair, giving Joey the chance to focus on learning to walk again.

“I had to use a walker for quite some time. I started going to physical therapy and they helped me regain the strength in my legs to where I could walk again without help.”

Over a year after the accident, Joey says his hand is back to normal and he has about 90% of the strength and mobility in his legs back, although he’s struggling with his PCL tear and will likely not be able to play soccer at the same level he did before.  In spite of that, Joey has a positive attitude about the future.

“I’m just glad to be alive; glad that I made it through.”

As Joey struggled through months of recovery, he gained an appreciation for physical therapy and sports medicine; now intent on studying physical therapy at Georgia Highlands College.  While his accident was tragic, Joey is happy to have found a silver lining that also gives him a clear sense of purpose.

“In high school, before I even graduated, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  After my physical therapy, I saw how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life.  I thought, “This is something I want to do.””

The physicians at Resurgens Orthopaedics and Joey’s physical therapy team have been very supportive of his goal, giving him advice and recommendations on how to get established in the field. 

“My experience at Resurgens was amazing.  The accident was a huge eye-opener and it really gave me a new perspective on life.  I’m very thankful for the doctors and physical therapists and everyone else who helped me.  Do I wish the accident never happened?  Of course.  But I think my story can be something that inspires other people.  When these types of things happen, some people feel like they’re lost, like they want to give up hope.  My goal is to inspire someone else and let them know that they’re not alone.”

Dr. Bruggers, Dr. Chen, Dr. Netto, and the physical therapy team at Resurgens Orthopaedics are proud to have the opportunity to help people like Joey every day.  Cases like Joey’s show us that although life can sometimes throw us curveballs, care, compassion, and hope can help us pull through even the darkest of times.


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