I am a coach and my own greatest comeback story. I am Henry.
When a horrific car accident left him with multiple life-threatening injuries, high school football coach Greg’s chances for survival looked bleak at best. That’s when his wife made the decision to have Greg airlifted from their local hospital to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a Level I trauma center with a reputation for tackling the toughest cases. Her decision would not only save her husband’s life, but would eventually allow him to return to his second love—coaching football.
While Greg’s son Gregory was able to walk away from the accident unscathed, Greg’s injuries were severe. Among them were a broken pelvis, ribs and left foot, along with a cracked right femur, multiple breaks in his left leg, facial fractures and a shattered right hip. Greg also had a tear in his heart and a brain injury. The doctors at Henry Ford Health initially estimated his chances of survival to be one percent.
“While each of the injuries were not the worst I’ve seen individually in other patients, all of them together in one patient, put him in the top five percent of multiple trauma cases I’ve seen,” said Dr. Joseph Hoegler, an orthopedic trauma surgeon and Interim Chair of Henry Ford Health’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery.
During Greg’s two-month stay at Henry Ford Hospital, he endured nine surgeries in total. “I had a ‘Humpty Dumpty,” says his wife Jennifer. “He needed to be put back together, and the Henry Ford team put him back together.”
Dr. Hoegler helped fix Greg using an array of surgeries, plates and screws that repaired even the most complex of his fractures. Meanwhile, another trauma team attended to Greg’s internal bleeding, to ensure that Greg—first and foremost—would live to enjoy the benefits of his mended bones.
“The multidisciplinary care provided to patients is coordinated very seamlessly between our medical teams,” said Dr. Hoegler. “Patients can be assured they’re getting the best care available, as was the case with Greg.”
Amazingly, Greg returned to coaching just one year later, and he credits Dr. Hoegler and Henry Ford for his biggest comeback to date.
“Dr. Hoegler played a big role in saving my life and I really appreciate him and what he did for me,” says Greg. “I’m so thankful he had the medical skills and experience to deal with my severe injuries and provide the care he did.”
Dr. Hoegler has equal praise for Greg, attributing his survival to his will to live, positive attitude and sense of humor.
The way Greg sees it, he had no other choice. “I’ve always been a positive person but surviving the accident has taken me to another level of having an optimistic outlook on life,” he says. So while his doctors fought to save his body, it was Greg’s optimistic mind, will and inner-Henry that ultimately got him back to the life he loves.