Sledding accident leads to femoral neck fracture, surges surgery and rehab team


Two years ago, Steve Woodward’s first words after hip surgery were filled with humor rather than pain.

“I remember waking up and asking, ‘Is my hip still there?'” he says.

Today, it’s not necessarily imaginable that the sailing instructor and avid hiker suffered what many medical experts called “the worst femoral neck fracture I’ve ever seen.” deaf.

Woodward, director of clinical services at UI Healthcare Iowa River Landing, said his phenomenal recovery was attributed to UI Orthopedic and Rehabilitation and the University of Iowa Health Network in partnership with Encompass Health. He credits the excellent care he received from the rehabilitation hospital.

Accident: High energy sled accident

“My son and I decided to buy a sled built for speed and try it out on the big hills of Pinicon Ridge Park,” says Woodward.

He remembers that they were the only ones sledding on the hill at the time. His son rode his sleigh down the hill for the first time.

“I waited until he got to the bottom and started down the middle of the hill, and I remember being in the air with my feet above my head. That’s when I knew things were going to go wrong. I think it’s because of that,” says Woodward.

Woodward landed on his right hip and immediately felt a “crushing” sensation underneath. His son, now an Eagle Scout, rushed in with excitement.

“He came up to me and said, ‘Daddy! ‘ It was really cool, are you okay?’ So I said, ‘No, it’s not,'” says Woodward.

Photo of the hill where Woodward was injured.

The photo was taken just before Woodward and his son descended the hill.

Ms. Woodward soon found herself in the local emergency room in Cedar Rapids. Given the conversations and reactions of the doctors and nurses treating him, he considered it necessary to see his UI Health Care orthopedic team.

enter an orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Williewas a little surprised that Woodward’s injury (classified as an acetabular fracture) was caused by a sledging accident.

An acetabular fracture is a break in the socket portion of the “ball and socket” hip joint.

“Usually, acetabular fractures are caused by wrecking a car or motorcycle, or falling off a roof. It must have been,” Willie says.

Woodward remembers the confidence Willie showed as he planned to fix Woodward’s hip with a surgical repair using two titanium plates. Woodward recalls the moment he knew Wiley’s goals were aligned with his own.

X-ray of Woodward's injuries.

Woodward’s hip injury was classified as an acetabular fracture.

“He told me, ‘Our goal is to get you walking again,'” says Woodward.

Recovery: Enter UI Health Network Rehabilitation Hospital

After surgery and a short period of physical therapy at the hospital, Woodward was referred to UI Health Network Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville.

At the rehabilitation hospital, Woodward faced two weeks of intensive inpatient treatment, including physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT). The therapist taught him how to move his leg in a way that didn’t cause further injury while healing. This helped him when he got home and his wife had to help him around the house.

“Rehabilitation hospitals give you the structure to tap into or have your own motivation,” says Woodward. “It won’t be easy. I knew I had to be prepared, motivated and have a positive attitude.”

Woodward, a known eyewitness to UI Health Care’s care, agreed because he trusted the care team.

“He’s a very motivated person to recover from an injury like that, and that has had a huge impact on his recovery,” Willie says.

A photo of Woodward's first day in a rehab hospital.

This was Woodward’s first day in a rehabilitation hospital.

Final Stage of Recovery: Professional Physiotherapist

Up to this point, Woodward’s journey to recovery has been filled with struggle, a little humor, and a lot of dedication.

“After an accident like Steve’s, he needed to regain strength and endurance, regain mobility and flexibility,” he says. Amanda Paulson, PT, DPT, OCS.

Paulson worked with Woodward for outpatient therapy twice a week and guided treatment based on pain and functional ability, which required ongoing communication on Woodward’s pain tolerance. .

One of the challenges of recovery was getting my legs moving again. Woodward ties his physical therapy experience to his one of his favorite movies.

“It was like that scene in Star Wars where Luke tells Yoda, ‘Do it or don’t, there’s no trial.’ , I couldn’t move my legs, I was so disappointed I couldn’t move my legs, but Amanda looked me in the eye and said, “You’ll get there.” . ”

Over time, with Poulsen’s guidance and encouragement, Woodward was able to start moving his legs, build strength, and eventually relearn how to walk and maintain his balance.

Although he suffers from back pain some days, Woodward has regained the active lifestyle he wanted.

“Devil’s Lake is our favorite park in the Midwest and my goal was to make the trails hikeable,” he says. “When I came back, I hiked more slowly than before, but I was able to walk all the trails, including Balanced Rock. I continue to enjoy doing.”

Woodward and his wife in Devil's Lake.

Woodward and his wife, Kim, 16 months after their accident on the West Bluff Trail in Devils Lake State Park, Wisconsin.

Woodward will always be grateful for his care team and rehabilitation hospital expertise.

“The rehab hospital was kind of the accelerator for my recovery,” he says. “I can’t imagine how hard it would have been if I’d been home.

However, the process remained difficult. Mr. Paulson says Mr. Woodward is a great example of the recovery that can happen from determination and cooperation. But she and Woodward want to be clear about the trip, she said.

“I think it’s important to let people know that recovery is not a linear process. It wasn’t,” says Paulson. “Treatment is a team process and requires collaboration between patient and provider. Steve and I were able to develop a trusting relationship that I believe was vital to his recovery.”



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