Small changes make a big difference in the quality of life

Tyler Rohr from American Family InsuranceIn the Midwest, we look forward to the first weekend during the winter when the high temperature reaches 60 degrees. After a cold winter, it’s the first taste of spring.

Feb. 1, 2003, was one of those days. I was 17 years old, the starting quarterback for the football team, my school’s No. 1 golfer and a bench warmer on the varsity basketball team. Life couldn’t get any better. That warm February day, was also the beginning of a long journey for me. That morning I was in a tree-trimming accident that left me paralyzed from the t-9 vertebrate (belly button area) down to my feet.

Lucky for me, that was the only complication I had from the fall. Yes, I was left paralyzed, but it could have been much worse.

As time went on, I got back into my usual routine. I graduated from high school, started college and was hired by American Family as a temporary employee. After graduating from college, I was fortunate enough to get a Personal Lines underwriter position.

For the most part, I lived like I did before I was paralyzed. I had enough energy for two people and nothing could hurt me or slow me down. Eventually, the long days caught up with me and I developed a bed sore from sitting in my wheelchair.

I ended up having two surgeries and had to lie in bed for 106 days before the doctor would let me resume a normal life. From the beginning of April through August of 2010, I was in my parent’s basement in a special bed and thought about all the ways I was going to prevent this setback from happening again.

After six months of being back to work, I needed something different. I was tired of going home and lying down for hours when I spent all day at my desk working at my computer. There had to be a way for me to be pressure-free or close to pressure-free while working.

I talked to my manager, Lee O’Brien, about the possibility of getting a stand-up workstation. I know … you may be thinking, “Tyler, you’re paralyzed. How are you going to stand at work when you haven’t moved your legs in almost nine years?”

The answer is a standing frame. Environment and Safety Analyst Dan Coleman, thought it was a great idea and found one. The frame and workstation work great! The standing frame helps prevent the pressure sores. It also increases blood flow to my legs, reduces back pain and makes the bones in my legs stronger. I went from sitting eight hours a day to standing for six.

Now that I stand most of the day, I am able to do fun recreational activities after work such as hunting, fishing and exercising, activities I had to cut back on drastically while always sitting down at work.

I can’t thank American Family enough for what they have done. The standing frame is truly a life saver and has given me my life back.

Editor’s note: American Family Insurance received an award in October 2012 from Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living in St. Joseph, Mo., for finding a solution that helps Tyler Rohr work in a more comfortable workstation.

by Tyler Rohr on Fri, Jan 25 2013 2:22 pm
Posted by Tyler Rohr on Fri, Jan 25 2013 2:22 pmTyler Rohr is an underwriting representative for American Family Insurance.


Jeff Rudisill said on Feb 01, 2013

I just finished reading your story you are a wonderful inspiration to everyone. If everyone would follow your example the world would be a much better place to live in. Also I enjoyed reading the article the newspaper did on you playing golf a while back.
Tom Buchheim said on Jan 25, 2013
Thanks for sharing your story, Tyler. Your idea was brilliant and I'm thrilled American Family was able to help you make it happen.
Michele said on Jan 25, 2013
Thanks for the inspiration. American Family Insurance is fortunate to have you on the team.
Bill Shepard said on Jan 25, 2013
Tyler, you are an inspiring person. We all should follow your example!
Lisa Conner 020/655 said on Jan 25, 2013
What an inspiration you are ! Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your world .
Delida (Beale) Williams said on Feb 02, 2013
What a wonderful young man you have become Tyler. I knew you would be successful in your life. Your drive and determination are an inspiration to all. God bless you!
Jeff Rudisill said on Feb 02, 2013
Great Story Tyler, you are a wonderful inspiration to everyone around you. Thanks for sharing
Norma Robbins said on Jun 10, 2013
Terrific story and what an glad for you. Thanks for sharing your story.
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