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Former Patient Aims for a Career Helping Others

Steven Myers of Salem, Va., honors brother's memory by pursuing college and beyond.

Steven Myers, 26, says he and his parents have only one rule when it comes to talking about Steven’s older brother, Aaron, who died in the car accident that left Steven with a traumatic brain injury. The rule? Don’t stop talking about him.

“We talk about Aaron all the time,” Steven says. “His memory drives all of us, and we definitely feel his presence. So we tell friends and family to do the same. We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable or feel scared to talk about him around us.”

The accident happened Aug. 13, 2012. After several weeks in a Roanoke, Va., trauma center, Steven was transferred for a three-month stay at Shepherd Center.

“It was kind of like a therapy boot camp,” he recalls. “When I got there, I was unable to even sit up in my bed. By the time I left, I was walking on my own.”

During his time at Shepherd Center, Steven also began to grasp what had happened to him – and to Aaron – and began receiving the resources he needed to sort through his emotions.

Steven and Aaron, separated by four years, had formed their strongest bonds outdoors. Aaron was an enthusiastic outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish. Steven wasn’t too keen on hunting, but the two found a compromise activity in hiking. Today, Steven and his parents relish the long walks they take with Aaron’s dog, Rusty.

Steven feels his brother’s encouragement in other ways, too. At the time of the accident, Steven says he wasn’t focused on the important things in life, including school. But now, he’s taking classes toward his associate’s degree, something Steven envisions as a first step toward a career in human services. He’s also begun opening himself up, sharing his story with support groups in his hometown.

“This is the beginning of the next big chapter in my life,” Steven says. “I want to get a job where I can share my story and help others who are facing similar situations. This is all to honor Aaron. His spirit is what pushes me today.”

By Phillip Jordan

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.