In the summer of 2012, just before his senior year in high school, Dillon Borowicz of Lakeville dove into his family’s pool; but unlike the hundreds of times he’d done this before, this time he struck the pool’s bottom and had to be pulled out by his brother. Formerly an athlete in football and lacrosse, Borowicz became paralyzed from the neck down and began therapy as an inpatient at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
X-rays showed that his spine was unstable – even with a halo – so he had to go back to surgery to have his spine fused. While this would have put a dent in the optimism of some patients, his therapists – Jamie Vidinich, PT, Eva Rychly, PT and Anna Braun, OTR/L – say that Borowicz tackled his therapy with perseverance, doing whatever it took to improve. They added that Borowicz is personable and polite with an infectious smile. As an inpatient, he made the effort to know all of the staff and other patients by name, offering praise and encouragement throughout the rehab process. His high school classmates were so inspired by his positive attitude and accomplishments that they elected him homecoming king while he was still hospitalized.
Vidinich said, “Shoulder strength and scapular control were limiting factors for Dillon’s progress with mobility but not for lack of effort on his part. He worked diligently on his home program and was constantly asking if there were new or different ways he could improve his strength.” Being realistic about his function was another strong point; however, Borowicz was not willing to give in easily; he would commit to a task until he met his goal. A good student as well, he was motivated to return to school to finish his senior year and graduate with his class. He is currently a student at Normandale Community College and intends to complete a business degree.
Before his injury, Borowicz was a great help to his parents in caring for their home and land; he continues to do so despite his disability. Best of all, he remains a strong role model for his brother as he demonstrates patience, responsibility, and a strong work ethic.