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Sam Schmid After more than two years of intensive neurorehabilitiation at Barrow Neurological Institute, former University of Arizona student Sam Schmid has officially graduated from his grueling therapies and returned home to Tucson. Schmid, 23, made international headlines in 2011 when he wiggled two fingers moments after hospital staff had discussed the possibility of taking him off life support. His tremendous recovery is being called miraculous by many. “It’s taken a great medical team as well as hard work and dedication to make the type of recovery I’ve made,” says Schmid. “Not only did I learn to walk and talk again, but I’ve learned how to reintegrate myself back into the community and to be successful.” Schmid suffered a brain aneurysm, stroke and a severe brain injury from a five-car accident in Tucson in 2011. Emergency responders declared him dead at the scene, but when Schmid began to respond, he was flown to Barrow for immediate brain surgery. A week later, he was unresponsive, and there was talk of removing life support. After ordering another MRI, his surgeon, Robert Spetzler, MD, recommended waiting one more week. That very evening, Schmid started to follow verbal commands. Schmid spent nearly 40 hours a week for two years undergoing intensive speech, physical and occupational therapy at Barrow’s Center for Transitional NeuroRehabilitation. “When I first started treating Sam, he was learning the basic functions of life such as swallowing,” says Kristi Husk, PsyD, a clinical neuropsychologist at Barrow. “Just two years later, he’s back in school and playing basketball. His recovery has been incredible.”

After a near-fatal car accident and a week in a coma, Sam Schmid began regaining consciousness and went on to make a remarkable recovery.

Watch Sam’s amazing story on You Tube Sam Schmid made international headlines in 2011 after making a miraculous recovery from near fatal brain injuries. Now Sam is inspiring others. “Be Inspired: Sam’s Miracle,” a three-minute video about his injury and courageous recovery, is available at It has had more than 72,000 views.

The Center for Transitional NeuroRehabilitation was key to Sam Schmid’s amazing recovery. The center is undergoing an expansion. Your gift of any amount will be matched by a generous donor and patient. For information, call 602-406-3041.


Barrow magazine Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014  

A publication for the friends of Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz.

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