Section: Highlights

Local Stuntman Completes Therapy with Flying Colors

02/17/2015
Local Stuntman Completes Therapy with Flying Colors

Car vs. motorcycle accidents rarely end well for the person on the motorcycle, and for Davey Thompson, the result was nine broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and sternum, a lacerated liver, pulmonary contusions, and tendon damage to his wrists and knees. The next several months were some of the worst of his life as he remained almost bedridden, with seemingly little progress and dwindling hope of regaining his life.

For Davey, there was even more at stake: the 55-year-old professional stuntman earned his living by falling off buildings and rappelling ropes in the place of famous actors in movies like Absolute Power and Spider-Man 3. In addition, he performed almost daily in Disneyland's popular Fantasmic show, known for its acrobatic displays.

"I have always been in top physical shape, something that is important to me both professionally and mentally," explains the Fullerton resident. "The thought of being semi-disabled was almost unbearable."

Then his doctor suggested going to St. Jude Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness in Brea.

"When I sat down with Mary Long, PT, DPT, OCS, CHT, and heard her say 'We're going to get you back,' there were tears in my eyes," says Davey. "For the first time, I saw light at the end of this very dark tunnel."

Moving slowly due to his extensive injuries, he and Mary started with simply returning strength to his wrists — simple tasks like opening a jar were almost impossible for him. Next came knees and then rebuilding his overall strength and function. Ten months later, he graduated from physical therapy to lifting weights and cardio conditioning at the St. Jude Synergy Medical Fitness Center .

"Mary and the other therapists were amazing. They were knowledgeable, dedicated to helping me improve, and understood how to motivate me to fight harder," he says. "It was such a great atmosphere that going there felt like going home."

Today Davey is back to rope climbing, high falls and triple somersaults off the deck of a pirate ship in Disney's Fantasmic — as well as his "hobbies" of running, biking and working out at Synergy. Except for occasional pain in his left wrist, he says he is in as good, or better, shape than before the accident.

"I had driven past St. Jude Medical Center a thousand times before my accident and never thought I would need their help," he says. "Now I understand how fortunate we are to have a hospital like this."

The St. Jude Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness offers California's most comprehensive array of accredited inpatient and outpatient services, from a nationally recognized stroke recovery program, to an innovative and highly successful cancer rehabilitation program. Committed to exceptional care, St. Jude specializes in helping those with injury or illness regain their quality of life. For more information, call (714) 578-8720 or visit us at stjudemedicalcenter.org

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