Nearly 20 years after William Jarvis was injured in a serious car accident, he’s still dealing with its lingering effects.
The Myrtle Beach resident was traveling on an icy bridge in 2000 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when he lost control of his car.
“I hit some black ice,” he recalls. “My car slid into another lane and was hit by another car.”
Jarvis, 74, broke all of his ribs, suffered several crushed vertebrae and a traumatic brain injury. He spent five weeks in a coma and 18 months in the hospital.
After undergoing extensive rehabilitation, Jarvis was able to walk slowly with a cane or use a scooter, though he has continued to face challenges with balance, fatigue, an inability to bend one of his knees and lift the front of one foot.
Still, with a lot of work and commitment he was able to return to his job as a college professor. After retiring, he and his wife, Marty, moved to South Carolina four years ago, and Jarvis now devotes his time to writing books, speaking and inspiring others about the possibility of recovery from a traumatic brain injury.
Eventually, Jarvis became concerned about his mobility. The effects of his car accident coupled with a decline in strength made him prone to falling.
“I’d fallen a couple times and people had to help me up,” he says. “One time I had to call 911.”
Having to rely on others wasn’t an option for Jarvis, who decided to return to rehab with a simple, if important goal: If he fell, he wanted to be able to get up off the ground without help from anyone else.
Not only would Jarvis achieve his goal, he would exceed it. With a bit of help, he’s doing better today than he thought possible.