Traumatic brain injury patient thanks caregivers for help, recuperation

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On May 17, 2014, when then 19-year-old Spencer Dray lost control of his car and slammed into a guardrail in Cuyahoga Falls in a one-car accident, his parents were told he may not live.

If he survived, no one was sure what type of life he would have. 

Even after 60 days in a coma and time spent in a nursing home, Spencer couldn’t hold his head up, speak or move the right side of his body as the result of his traumatic brain injury. 

On Thursday morning, the now 26-year-old on exited Akron Children’s Hospital, lifted his arms, waved, gave a bow from his wheelchair and told staff, “I love each and every one of you,” as they cheered. 

Spencer had stopped by the hospital with his parents to thank his outpatient caregivers for the last five years of care.

On Beaconjournal.com: Watch a video of Spencer Dray’s clapout and farewell

Spencer Dray pets Happy, a member of the Doggie Brigade at Akron Children's Hospital, on Thursday as the dog is handled by owner Chris Witschey.

“We love you, Spence,” said Lindsay Ripple, the occupational therapist on the Children’s team who has worked with Dray, along with physical therapist Chuck Miller and a team of other caregivers from multiple departments. 

The Drays, who have lived in Bath for 24 years, are moving to Colorado to be closer to family and to plan for the next stages of care for Spencer.  

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