Rodney Hammerstrom

rodney-hammerstrom

Currently, Rodney travels part time to share his story of the accident. He speaks on the Power of Prayer in one’s life. He like’s to speak to youth so they can see how fragile life can be. He shares with them his experiences and tells them that he placed his situation in “His” hands. Rodney let “Him” take over to help him through his situation and he put his trust in “Him” to lead Rodney through what he needed to do to recover. Rodney shares his story in hopes it will touch someone’s life. He also speaks to Bible Study groups, churches, cowboy churches and clubs. He hope’s that his story makes an impact in people’s life to know how important it is to make the decision for their eternal life. We do not have time to delay, we have to decide now what direction to take our life. Life can change in a second and we must be ready.

rodney-hammerstrom

The Inspirational Story of
Rodney Hammerstrom

On October 15, 2003, I was riding a colt on my parents’ place, my senior year in High School. I was out riding checking the fences so we could turn horses out in the hay field for the fall.  I will never know what happened but my colt was apparently spooked, maybe by a pheasant that we scared up from the fence line.  But the colt and I fell over a 4-barb fence into our pasture, across from the hay field that I had been riding in.  As it was getting later, and I should have been home, my father and older brother came out looking for me.  They found me and the colt, both of us were laying on the ground. The colt was lying across the back of my legs and I was unconscious.  My older brother pulled the colt away from me.  As we were laying on a slight incline, my brother was afraid if the colt struggled to get up, it would thrash over the top of me.  So he pulled the colt off and away from me.  The colt was unhurt.  The first of many miracle and the hand of God at work. The black color of the colt is what caught my father’s eye to find me, otherwise the gray sweatshirt I was wearing blended into the tones of the fall landscapes.  So if it wasn’t for the colt being there with me and the dark of the fall evening quickly coming upon us, I would not have been found as soon as I was.

I was taken by air ambulance to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  My stay there turned into 94 days of hospitalization.  I spent 34 days in ICU in a coma.  I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI.  My brain had the “sheers” broken.  The sheers are the pathways in the brain that carry the message from the brain to the rest of the body.  The Doctor that cared for me while I was in the ICU, stated that because of the little amount of brain activity that was present when I was brought into the hospital that his expectations for me was hopefully to be able to speak and eat normal food again.  He did not expect much more than that;  My recovery was tough.  When the Doctor felt there was nothing more they could do medically, they moved me to the rehab floor.  I was still in a coma.  I was not communicating.  I was on a ventilator as I was not able to breathe on my own.  I was being fed through a feeding tube.  They would tie down my hands so I would not pull the tubes out when I became restless.

In the rehab therapy, the first thing they did was put me in a piece of equipment that helped me to stand.  I had four people surrounding me.  One to hold my head up, one person on each side to support me even with being strapped in this machine, and one person to guide me to help me to pick up a small ball, lift it into a small basket and drop it.  This was exhausting even though the exercise lasted only a very few minutes.  But this was the beginning of my many years of rehab.  I had to learn the basics again.  I had to learn how to swallow, speak and walk.  I had to figure out balance. I had to think how to navigate steps.  Everything that had come natural and that I had learned in childhood.  I had to learn and practice over and over again.  I have spent six years in recovery through a number of physical, occupational and speech rehab programs.

I did graduate from High School in 2004 with the rest of my class.  I had a personal tutor that helped me finish my last credits in High School  During that time, I was attending rehab sessions five days a week and working with my tutor to finish my classes.  I was determined to walk down the aisle with my classmates and friends and walk across the stage to get my diploma with out any crutch.  I worked for many weeks with my physical therapist so that I could walk across the stage unassisted. On the stage, my parents placed a line of masking tape on the floor that I used as my guide to be able to walk straight.  I dropped my crutch at the edge of the stage, walked across the stage, precariously, as my rehab Doctor states, accepted my diploma and picked up another crutch on the other side of the stage.  So I accomplished two goals.  I walked down the aisle with my classmates. [They all walked slowly so that I could walk with them with my lofstran arm crutch.]  Against the better judgment of my physical therapist, I did walk across the stage without any device to accept my diploma.

After the years of rehab and with the grace and strength from my Lord, I am doing well and I am blessed.  I am walking with no assisted device.  I eat regular food.  I do speak slower than some but I do speak and carry on good conversations.  I have my memory and only lost the days I spent in the hospital for those three months.  I drive a car.  I drive a pickup and horse trailer so I can go team roping with my friends.  I ride horses and team rope with my Dad, brother and friends.  The Lord has been good to me.

When I am not traveling to share my story, I am at my home with my parents in Davis, South Dakota.  I have a work out gym in my home where I workout almost every day to keep my muscles and body strong.  It is the same with our Faith. We as Christians need to be in the Word daily to keep our Faith strong.

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