• By Dana Sparks

In the Loop: Back to work after accident left him paralyzed

May 8, 2018

After Daniel Grossman, M.D., was paralyzed in a biking accident, he needed to learn how to do everything — including care for patients — in a new way.


Daniel Grossman, M.D., was in command and control mode, assessing a 36-year-old who'd fallen off his mountain bike on the Cuyuna Trail in northern Minnesota. No one had seen the fall, which cracked the man's helmet and left him unable to feel or move his legs.

Having worked for a decade as an emergency medicine physician, Dr. Grossman understood the gravity of the situation. But it was also completely new to him. Because this time, Dr. Grossman wasn't only the physician. He was also the patient.

"I knew enough to know it was bad," Dr. Grossman says of those initial moments after his fall. He gave his phone to a friend and started directing calls. First paramedics, then family, friends, and the colleague who was expecting him to show up for a shift in the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus the next day.

He didn't make that shift. But less than five months later, Dr. Grossman would return to his role in the Emergency Department, reclaiming an important piece of his identity.

"Ultimately, this is a story about getting back to doing things," he tells us. And focusing on those things — work, independence, making a difference — has propelled Dr. Grossman forward in an extraordinary journey marked by hard work, determination and a willingness to accept a radically new normal. Read the rest of the story.
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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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