David Petrosyan

David Petrosyan, 32, was accustomed to working long hours at his auto repair and body shop. As an owner and a mechanic, it wasn’t unusual to see him working long hours to help the business. His contribution to a thriving shop was something he enjoyed and did quite often.

One Saturday afternoon, after a busy week at work, David agreed to meet his brother, Sam, and his brother-in-law, Rob.

As David prepared to leave, his first instinct was to grab his car keys. Instead, he decided to ride his motorcycle. This was not a normal choice for David. Nonetheless, he grabbed his full-face helmet and went on his way. David recalled that day as a beautiful spring afternoon in April. He described it as “nearly perfect”.

Several hours later, David, Sam, and Rob decided to grab lunch. David led on his motorcycle, while Sam and Rob drove behind him.

“I remember riding down the highway and noticing a car slowing down,” said David. “I ended up swerving to avoid hitting the car.”

That’s where David’s recollection stops.

Sam and Rob, who witnessed the accident, were in complete shock. They saw David and his motorcycle propel 60 to 70 feet into a shallow ditch and prayed they would find him and get help.

Both Sam and Rob feared the worst when they saw David’s body lying motionless in the ditch. They repeatedly called his name, but received no response. “I remember opening my eyes and hearing my name being called,” David noted. “Then I feared that I was paralyzed – I couldn’t feel anything below my hips.”

David was rushed to the emergency room at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. The extent of his injuries was serious. David sustained injuries to his spinal cord with T1 through T5 and L1 through L3 fractures with spinal cord edema. He lost consciousness and suffered fractures to his right scapula, sternum, and ribs. It was unclear if he was permanently paralyzed.

“It was a serious accident and I’m lucky to be alive.”

“My surgeon at Community Regional Medical Center, Dr. Levine, did a great job in helping me,” said David. After eleven days of hospitalization, David was ready to discharge and begin inpatient therapy. He admitted to San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital as recommended by his doctor.

“It was really difficult and I really needed a lot of help,” David said, reflecting on his condition upon admission to SJVRH. “I couldn’t even walk! My physical therapist, Jaspreet, and my occupational therapist, Ed, got me stronger and taught me to not give up.”

After nearly dying, David sees a second chance at life. “This accident helped me realize how much I appreciate my family, especially my mother and father, who I hadn’t been close to for several years. This changed everything. I appreciate my mother, father, and family so much!”

After a week at SJVRH, David achieved his rehabilitation goals. “I wanted to leave the hospital knowing I could walk and be independent. That is what SJVRH helped me accomplish,” David said.

David continues to do very well. He has since returned back to work and is living an independent life. “I have a second chance at life. I appreciate everything SJVRH has done, and also my family for supporting me through a really difficult time,” David reflected. “It’s hard to believe that I came so close to never walking. Going to San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital changed my life and I’m really thankful to everyone.”