For Patients

Patient Stories

Iunre Smart Jr.

IJ's Smile

Iunre Smart Jr., IJ for short, woke up in a hospital bed with no recollection of what happened. A few days earlier, he had gotten into an accident on a dirt bike after colliding into a car. He ended up with a spinal cord injury that left him wheelchair bound. But no matter what life throws at him, IJ says “you just have to smile through it.” And that’s what he continues to do.

A lot of people ask me, how are you so happy? How do you stay so happy? Honestly, I don’t really know, it’s just me…it’s just me.

IJ’s doctors told him that he would never walk again. But with the help of physical therapy, IJ is standing up and down, walking with a walker and has regained feeling in his legs. He says, “I’m doing what the doctors said I would never do.” He owes it all to his therapists, for “they keep me coming here – it is their motivation, it is their determination to help me along with my progress.” He has even has begun playing wheelchair basketball for the Connecticut Spokebenders Wheelchair Basketball Team.

He says that continuing on this journey, progressing in his therapy, is his new passion. “My passion since I was a kid was music, but now I fell in love with my progress and my process.” He hopes to pass along his motivation and what he has learned to others who have similar injuries. He wants them to know they can keep going.