Patient Stories

Carter Sinkhorn

Physical and Mental Healing Close to Home

Early New Year’s morning, 17-year-old Carter crashed his truck less than a mile from home. The truck, caught in a tree and suspended in the air, had Carter in a death grip. First responders and the TMH Emergency Department saved his life, but he says Rehab close to home helped him the most in his recovery.

It just feels like home. People know me by name.

The decision to drink and drive was not a smart way to start 2017 for Taylorville teenager Carter Sinkhorn. 

Early New Year’s morning, Carter, then 17, crashed his truck into a tree, less than a mile from home. The truck, caught in the tree and suspended in the air, had Carter in a death grip, his legs pinned in the cab and the rest of his body hanging outside the driver’s side window.

Enter Kevin Kietzman, MPT, with TMH Rehabilitation Services, who began work with the teenager in late January. He describes his role as both cheerleader and realist as he continues to guide Carter for continual improvement. 

“Getting Carter to understand it would be a long process was the first challenge,” Kietzman said. “It is more of a marathon than a sprint. Also, consistency. Helping him understand that he needs to keep with the exercises to see improvement. I remind him–remember where you were at.”

Carter credits his physical therapy at TMH as one of the main things that helped his recovery, especially when he grappled with depression following his return home.

“Coming here and talking with Kevin really helped,” Carter said. “It just feels like home. People know me by name. He helped me to walk better. At first, I was walking with no ligaments in my right knee. I tore everything but the ACL.”

Carter’s mom, Lisa Sinkhorn, remembers how tough those days were at the beginning of the rehabilitation process.

“Carter was depressed, but Kevin kept persevering and pushing him, telling him he could get through this,” she said. “He would be so upset when I dropped him off for appointments. But when it was over, he was a different person.”

“TMH Rehabilitation Services brought Carter from wheelchair to crutches, then to a cane, then knee brace, and today he is walking with no brace and a slight limp,” Lisa posted on her Facebook page in late July. “What an awesome group of people! The surgeons have been awesome, but without TMH physical therapy, Carter wouldn’t be where he is today.”

In some ways, it has been easier for him to move forward than his family, sister Mallory Sassatelli, brother Spencer, and parents, Jimmy and Lisa.

“I finally said ‘Mom, you need to turn the page. I have, and I need you, too. I’m OK.’ Rehab was the thing that helped me the most,” he added.

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