Riding through the cold mountain air as the sun was setting is the last thing Clay remembers before seeing two stray horses inches from his front motorcycle tire. The resulting impact caused a spinal cord injury with quadriplegia, a condition that affected the use of his legs, arms and hands.
Rushed by AirMed to the University of Utah Hospital, he was semi-conscious, and utterly overwhelmed by his situation. He didn't know if he would ever be able to work, spend time with his daughter, or enjoy the outdoors again.
Clay's doctors referred him to the Rehabilitation Center for comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation. He had to learn to do things differently, deal with the frustrations of learning to write left-handed, get dressed, and brush his teeth.
"My therapists at the Rehabilitation Center cared about me as a person," he recalls. "They were always finding ways to incorporate my personal interests into therapy. I learned new ways to tie fishhooks and hold my fishing pole. One evening my recreational therapist even drove me to see a motocross event, a sport that I love. I began to believe that I would one day be able to enjoy the outdoor activities that meant so much to me and my family."
Clay has a remarkable passion for life. He uses a wheelchair for mobility and he enjoys his job, plays rugby, rides a snowmobile, goes hunting and prepares for national rock-crawling events and competitions. And, oh yes, he goes fishing.
"Clay is the definition of recovery. When he arrived on Rehab, he had no movement below his neck. But as a patient, he did everything he needed to do to take control of his life again. He took all we had to offer and ran with it! He now drives his car, he's raising his teenage daughter and has returned to work in the construction business."