UMD Student Makes Difference in Program After Life-Changing Accident
DULUTH - It was a skiing accident his senior year of high school that changed Josh Sorvik's life forever.
“It was actually March 29, 2009,” Josh Sorvik, a student at the University of Minnesota, said.
“My friend and I decided to go out skiing, soak up the last couple days of spirit. As I was heading down the hill, I actually ended up catching an edge at just a weird spot and one of my skis fell off and I fell. I ended up sliding into the woods, and hit a bunch of trees and rocks,” Sorvik said.
Josh broke several bones ribs, his back and severed his spinal cord.
“I just kind of woke up to the realization in the rehabilitation unit later that I was a complete paraplegic, it was odd,” Sorvik said. “I hit my head really hard and like I was saying I very easily could have had a traumatic brain injury.”
He suffered a severe concussion, putting him in speech therapy for a week.
“It was kind of confusing, i didn't really know what was going on, having never really met someone with a traumatic brain injury or who’s had a stroke,” Sorvik said. “It was very interesting and everyone was very kind and sweet and at the same time you are also looking at people that have gone through such a profound loss that it's hard to describe. And I think that probably hit me the most. The nature of how drastic someone's life had changed and some of the irreversible damage that was there.”
But as his new disability became a reality, a profession became a passion.
“It really helped me get through a lot of things and it kind of became an area that I was passionate about,” Sorvik said.
Josh was accepted into the Communication Sciences and Disorders undergraduate program at UMD.
Now he is earning his master's in Speech Pathology to help others communicate by listening, reading and writing.
“We work with people of all ages, who have any number of communication needs. Generally we see about 100 people actively in one semester,” Lynette Carlson, the Clinic Director, said.
In addition to taking classes, Josh is working with clients.
“When they actually have the opportunity to work with someone who has a communication need and wants to make a difference in that person's life it makes the work of learning all worth it,” said Carlson.
And after a life altering accident, Josh has learned to move forward by helping people recover from something he can relate to. “I'd like to find something in a hospital setting working with individuals who've gone through some traumatic events, that's kind of my area. That's kind of the end goal at this point,” Sorvik said.