POULSBO — Poulsbo teen Michael Schrader’s recovery has been nothing short of a miracle.
On the eve of Black Friday in November 2006, he and a car full of friends were heading toward Silverdale when they changed their minds and opted to turn around, exiting on the Mountain View Road overpass of State Route 3. The decision changed his life.
Traveling on the overpass, the car hit a patch of ice, slid into and bounced off of a guard rail and was sent crashing into a power pole — which it broke in two — before flipping onto its roof.
The driver and two of the passengers in the car — ages 16, 17 and 17 — escaped relatively unscathed, but Schrader — riding shotgun — was literally smashed.
He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where doctors treated him for a crushed hip, crushed pelvis, broken ribs, arms, collarbone and a broken right femur in addition to internal head and chest injuries.
Following an incredible recovery which included bouts with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and two separate infections, Schrader is gathering his feet beneath him.
“Last Thursday, I went to Harborview and the guy pushed around my ankle and it was really painful … and then he said, ‘You can walk,’” Schrader recounted. “And I thought, ‘I am so walking!’ But I can’t really walk right now, I’ve got to build up to it, my legs are too weak.”
From the time of the accident up until his release from the Bainbridge Island Health and Rehab Center on Feb. 5, Schrader was bedridden, giving his body time to mend under doctor’s supervision. He recently took his first steps with crutches and returned to school for a half day Feb. 28.
Despite the lengthy absence, the senior is still on track to graduate with his classmates in June thanks to a bundle of pre-planning, all of which was done with a different purpose in mind.
“I got all of my required classes out of the way my junior and sophomore years, so I could really slack off in my senior year,” he said, noting a common high school senior strategy. “It pretty much worked out for me.”
His plans to enter the United States Air Force are still standing, as Schrader makes his way to his feet. Though he isn’t certain how his status will impact his future, he plans to enroll in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Central Washington University next fall.
For now, Schrader and his parents — George and Janice — praise the community support they received throughout the ordeal. Though the frustration of not yet being able to walk is trying, Schrader said that he finds hope in constant encouragement from his friends and family.
“I feel like the same old person, but I appreciate things more,” Schrader said.
Janice said the community support has been a very important blessing.
A goodwill account to assist the Schraders with their many medical bills is open at Washington Mutual Bank, and anyone wishing to donate can do so in the name of George, Janice and Michael Schrader Fund.