Evan displays mastery of his toughest challenge: touching the cones balanced on his injured leg
It was dusk on December 16, 2011, the first day of the Christmas school break, and twelve year old Evan Richards was hanging out with his friends. In a flash his life changed when he decided to cross highway 359 in Richmond. Evan lost his footing and his face breached the plane of traffic. What happened next was horrific. His head was hit by the side mirror of a car and he was thrown.
The injuries were extensive and serious, including a cracked skull and a broken leg. Evan was in critical and unstable condition and was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center by Life Flight. There he was put into a medically induced coma and CT scans were run every hour to monitor his brain. All other injuries went untreated in the interim. Because of the trauma to his brain, it was two days before the doctors determined it was safe to perform the surgery to repair his leg.
During that time, his leg had festered and he had lost viable tissue. Several surgeries were performed to graft skin and muscle over the open fracture and clean out the infection. The healing process was slow: A delicate balance between elevating the leg to heal the grafts and lowering it to increase blood flow to heal the bones.
At the end of January, 2012, Evan began therapy with Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend. By this time, his foot was frozen in a pointed position and the bones had not yet healed.
“We came here to get maximum flex to his foot,” explained Linda Richards, Evan’s mother. “The therapy was all manual therapy for his joints and soft tissue. What was amazing to me was the level of commitment that the therapists here showed. Three times per week for five months, I watched the therapists here giving 100% to my son working until their muscles were shaking with the effort. What a gift for someone to give that to your child.”
“We worked so very closely with Evan’s doctor as there were so many precautions initially,” said Patti Kocich, President of the clinic. “As soon as we would be given the green light by his doctor, we would advance to the next step.”
Throughout, Evan was faithful to the process, following up with therapy three times a day at home. He was patient each step of the way and faithful to the commitment that each step required.
“Evan and his family showed perseverance,” added Patti. “He is a highly motivated person and would follow the details exactly.”
Upon discharge in mid-June, Evan’s therapists equipped him with full instructions for home exercises and activities to continue his recovery. Keith Brandt, Evan’s other therapist, also pointed out that kids continue to recover through play.
Following his advice, Evan joined the summer swim team program. He had participated in the past but never excelled. Summer of 2012, that changed: Evan made the state swim team.
“The very fact that Evan qualified for state competition within six weeks of his release from therapy, and only eight weeks from his freedom to walk, is a testament to the incredible foundation his physical therapy gave him,” explained Linda.
“The therapists here have outstanding skills but you can’t top the time and care they put into building a relationship with Evan. They were his number one support group, they invested themselves in him. They cared for him as a person.”
“Evan is physical therapy’s poster child. This clinic deserves all the accolades and respect for their skill and dedication. To have people like them on your team is priceless.”