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