MURRAY, UT (6/27/2011) – Nearly three years after arriving at Intermountain Medical Center aboard a Life Flight helicopter, Joshua Morros returned to the hospital on a bicycle Monday to reunite with the people who helped save his life.
The stop came seven days into a 2,700-mile cross-country bike trip — a journey no one could have dreamed of when Joshua was critically injured in a professional off-road motorcycle race near Wendover, Nevada. He was only 16 in August 2008 when he hit a rock, lost control, and sustained massive headinjuries.
Joshua was quickly transported to Intermountain Medical Center, a Level I trauma center where the most severely-injured and ill patients in the Intermountain West are treated.
Initially, trauma physicians didn’t know if he’d survive.
“His parents told us all along, ‘He’s a fighter, he’s a competitive spirit, he’s going to bounce back and he’s going to be just fine,’ ” recalled Don Van Boerum, MD, a trauma surgeon at Intermountain Medical Center who was part of the team that cared for Joshua during a three-week stay in the Shock Trauma ICU. “Those of us who see a lot of brain injuries know that’s not always the case.”
But miraculously, Joshua has bounced back.
After three weeks in a coma, Joshua began to wake up. At first, he couldn’t speak or walk. But after months and years of rehabilitation, Joshua is fit and strong again — strong enough to tackle the estimated 40-day bicycle trip from his home in Reno, Nevada, to Vienna, Virginia, the location of the Brain Injury Association of America.
He’s riding to raise awareness about traumatic brain injury, a condition that is often devastating, if not deadly.
“He’s riding for everyone who can’t ride,” said his mother, Teresa. “He’s riding to show others with TBI they can fight and get better and do the best they can, whatever that is.”
And on Monday, he wasn’t riding alone. He was joined by 11 cyclists — including Dr. Van Boerum — from the Trauma Center and the Shock Trauma ICU at Intermountain Medical Center. The group met him in Tooele and accompanied him on the 30-plus mile ride to the hospital, where many of them joined him for lunch and to talk about his injury and recovery.
“Everyone’s behind me. I couldn’t be more grateful for that. If I didn’t have all these people and these nurses behind me, I don’t know if I’d be standing here today,” Josh said after pedaling up to the hospital
“This hospital gave him the foundation he needed to live,” said Teresa. “I never in my wildest dreams thought we would be at this point.”
“There are a lot of kids in way worse place than me. Just to have that ability to continue to go on with what I love, I feel like I’m the luckiest man in the world,” said Joshua.
Follow his journey on his website (www.becauseicanride.org) and Facebook page.