Will Thomas literally didn’t know what had hit him when he woke up at Huntington Hospital in May.
The Huntington man was walking along Park Avenue, near Hofstra Drive, early in the morning of May 4 when a vehicle struck him and drove off, leaving him crumpled on the pavement. The impact of the crash severed his spine from his neck and head, leaving him with a full-fracture broken neck.
The Greenlawn Rescue Squad rushed him to Huntington Hospital, where he was initially unidentified because he carried no paperwork. Then a hospital worker who had graduated a year after he did from Huntington High School recognized him and his family was contacted.
Thomas said the severity of his injuries led to spinal fusion surgery with metal screws placed in his spine, and in the back of head. He also suffered a subdermal hematoma, meaning he had blood on his brain.
He spent about two weeks at Huntington Hospital before moving to Glen Cove Hospital for further head trauma care, before being released. He is temporarily living with a family in the area as he recovers.
He has no memory of the crash. “One minute I’m walking then the next minute I’m waking up in the hospital,” he said.
With the help of family and his girlfriend, Dee Harris, he is improving. “I’m significantly better than I was. It’s kind of crazy how fast things are going. Overall I’m doing better. I’m out of the neck brace, and not using a cane anymore.”
But his struggles aren’t over. “They’re surprised at how well I’m recovering. But one minute i’m fine, then I sneeze and can’t move.”
He works as a manufacturing technician at a biopharmaceutical manufacturer, and is hoping to be able to return in November.
“Realistically, they don’t know if I should go back then, but I may have to go to another department” that requires less physical strain.
He repeats a phrase that seems to be guiding his recovery.
“Some days are better than others,” he said.