In September 2019, 10-year-old Connor injured himself during a soccer scrimmage. An X-ray confirmed that Connor had broken his collar bone.
Eight weeks later, Connor’s collar bone was healed but his head and neck were out of alignment. He went to a physical therapist for six weeks of treatment before the therapist noticed something amiss with Connor’s neck during a manipulation session.
A CT scan was done and when the neurologist saw the imaging, Connor’s family was urged to take him directly to the Emergency Center at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital (formerly Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak). The CT scan revealed two twisted vertebrae in his neck. They were shocked Connor had not experienced paralysis, muscle weakness or any other neurological symptoms.
Connor had surgery to install a halo device to stabilize his neck. One week quickly became eight as Connor remained hospitalized, unable to sit up or get out of bed. He underwent three additional surgeries and countless painful traction adjustments to his halo. Despite these extraordinary circumstances, Connor maintained a positive attitude throughout his stay and made use of everything that Child Life Services offered him.
This important program, funded by Children’s Miracle Network, is dedicated to helping children and their families cope with the stress of serious illness or injury. In addition to participating in animal therapy visits, working with music therapists and collecting bravery beads for completing difficult procedures, Connor and his child life specialists came up with creative ways to stay entertained while he was flat on his back. They even created a way for him to play target games on the ceiling, helped Connor set up an anniversary dinner for his parents at the hospital, and thought up ways to prank his nurses when they entered his room.
After six more weeks and a handful of follow-up appointments, his halo was finally removed. Today, more than three years after his initial injury, Connor is a happy, healthy and active 13-year-old who enjoys golf and tennis. His bravery, generosity and positive attitude are an inspiration to all of us.