Hannah Meyers, senior biology major, discovered her future career path after a freak accident left her dependent on others for more than a month during her freshman year at Colorado State University.
April 10, 2014 was an ordinary day. Meyers went to ballet classes and had a normal rehearsal. At the end of practice, she went for a leap that she had done at least a hundred times. But this time, she slipped as she leaped up.
“We were out of rosin and the floor was wooden and slick,” Meyers said. “Also, the floor was wet with sweat in places from the previous class.”
Meyers fell hard on her side and blacked out. As she regained consciousness, she was slightly confused.
“Everyone around me looked horrified,” Meyers explained. She couldn’t remember what just happened. Meyers tried to stand, but immediately collapsed. She tried again with the same results.
“I thought I had just popped my hip out of place because I’ve done that before,” Meyers explained. “I crawled to the nearest corner of the room and got someone to bring me my phone to call my mom.”
“When Hannah called me, I knew she had to be hurt pretty seriously for her to call and ask us to come and get her,” Millie, Meyers’ mother, said.
Meyers’ sister, Rachel, recalled that she was in the vehicle with her parents when Meyers called their mother.
“Hannah said ‘I’ve fallen and can’t get up’, and we just all kinda laughed at first,” Rachel said. “Then we realized she wouldn’t have called us unless it was serious.”
When her parents got to the studio, Millie, being a nurse, did a quick assessment of the situation.
“I noticed her legs weren’t rotated out, which meant we would have been dealing with a fractured hip,” Millie said. “But there had to be something else because Hannah couldn’t stand.”
Meyers felt no pain, probably due to shock, until her father picked her up to take her to the emergency room. Once at the ER, X-rays confirmed that Meyers had fractured her pelvis in at least three places. Had she fractured her pelvis in any other way, the result could have been very different.
Meyers was confined to bed rest and a wheelchair for the next month, and crutches for the following month. Due to the lack of assistance available to disabled individuals, Meyers had to rely on her mother to help her around the Colorado State University campus as she finished her freshman year of college. This sparked her compassion to help those who are disabled.
Millie helped her with many of her activities of daily living such as bathing, putting on clothes and changing positions in bed. Meyers explained that the entire time was very humbling. It was during this time of helplessness that she realized that she could help others in a similar situation because she had lived through it.
From a young age, Meyers had always loved science. She realized in high school that she wanted to go into the medical field. After she tore a tendon in dance during her junior year of high school, she spent several hours in the physical therapist’s office. This experience helped her realize that she wanted to go into therapy.
Meyers found and researched occupational therapy during her recovery from her broken pelvis.
“Occupational therapy is mainly focused on helping people regain their independence and relearning the activities of daily living,” Meyers explained. “The more I read about it, the more I felt I was being called into that field and line of work. I would have never found occupational therapy had it not been for me breaking my pelvis and ending my dance career.”
Meyers shadowed an occupational therapist during the summer of 2015. During that time, she realized she had a lot of the qualities that are good for an occupational therapist to possess. She described how, as a ballerina, you are trained to notice the little details and changes in yourself and the people around you, which will one day be the patients that she treats.
Meyers felt that she received the stamp of “yes, this is what I want to do with my life.” She is currently in the process of applying to occupational therapy school and should find out in April 2016 if she has been accepted. Meyers will be graduating from the University in May 2016.