“I am able to use my prosthesis at work and home on tasks such as work on the computer, shovel rock, power wash sidewalks, mow, string trim, and trim trees.” We invite you to learn more about Vern Rager’s tremendous road to recovery!

How did your amputation occur?
When the three members of the grounds crew and I were cutting down a tree trunk, we were having difficulty getting the tree to fall.  I put a wedge in where we had cut, and we were about to push the trunk.  I heard a pop and landed on the ground.  The fast work of the grounds crew resulted in calling the ambulance and applying a tourniquet.  During surgery, Dr. Hoyer determined that I would have better use of the limb by amputating the lower forearm and hand.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work for Compass Group as a Facility Director for Crawfordsville Community School Corporation.

Out of all of your accomplishments, which are you most proud of and why?
The accident and amputation occurred on October 22, 2019.  The day after surgery, I decided to adopt an attitude of thankfulness.  We have always served holiday dinners for our family.  About a month following the accident, my wife and I welcomed 39 family members at our home to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I was able to deep fry and carve the turkey.  We hosted Christmas dinners, including providing a holiday dinner for 45 grounds, custodial, and maintenance SSC Employees.  I was glad to return to work after four weeks and attend my grandchildren’s’ school events.  I am able to use my prosthesis at work and home on tasks such as work on the computer, shovel rock, power wash sidewalks, mow, string trim, and trim trees.

What hobbies or activities are you involved in?  Why do you enjoy them?
I enjoy being involved with high school athletics watching the competitions and working with the students.  I have been able to continue keeping the scorebook and clock for varsity boys and girls basketball games, volleyball matches and wrestling meets.  In the past I have driven the teams to away games.  I’m working to return to driving a school bus as soon as possible.

I also enjoy activities with my children and grandchildren.  My grandchildren participate in several different sports.  I attend as many functions as possible.  My family also camps and rides bikes. I have also served my community as a Crawfordsville Police Reserve since 1978 and a Montgomery County Deputy Coroner since 1998.

How big of a role does the proper function and fit of your prosthesis play in making it a good or bad day?
The proper function and fit helps make the day run smoothly.

How did you come to learn about SRT?
Prior to surgery following the accident, Dr. Hoyer had mentioned that a prosthesis might provide a better quality of life with a more functioning hand.  Brooke O’Steen, OTR (SRT’s Upper Extremity Clinical & Education Specialist) visited me in the hospital shortly after my amputation to tell me about possibilities for prosthetic devices.  She provided a wealth of information to help as I moved forward in the process.

What has your experience been like with SRT?
SRT has been very supportive and responsive to my needs in obtaining and using the prosthetic devices.  Although the current environment in dealing with COVID19 has been challenging, I have moved forward with the process of learning to use the devices.

What would you like to say to a new amputee to encourage them?
Stay positive.  I’m thankful to be alive following the accident and want to keep moving forward.