Mr. Seiler is 65 years old, a former butcher and still a vigorous individual very much engaged with the life pursuits of his retirement, living in Switzerland. Although divorced, he and his wife had raised three children who were all now middle aged. During the dawn of his recent retirement, Mr. Seiler had enthusiastically continued working and enjoying life. After the close of his long career, he carried on working in a field that was no less demanding — farming — regularly assisting farmers in his region in all manner of activities. Mr. Seiler’s recreational activities were just as testing as an all around athlete involved in sports such as skiing, hiking and jogging. He even spent evenings as a talented “rock ’n roll” dancer. All in all, a life that could tire even a younger man. An unexpected farming accident would leave Mr. Seiler with acute incomplete tetraplegia.

I remember lying on the edge of that mountain slope. I couldn’t move my head, my hands, my legs, nothing anymore…

Mr. Seiler on recalling the accident

With the sudden and unexpected nature of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), concerns and questions surrounding recovery are at the forefront of the minds of the patient and all concerned with his or her well-being.

I’m at the beginning of my second life!

Recovery of functioning in traumatic SCI depends on two critical factors: the type of injury, meaning both the severity and the etiology,1 and on timely and appropriate medical, potential surgical and rehabilitative interventions.2 Such interventions begin at the scene of accident and continue through the implementing rehabilitation.

This case study seeks to illustrate how proper and timely care contribute to optimal functioning and demonstrate the importance of rehabilitation beginning at the accident site.