Mason County teacher re-learning to live after hit and run crash

Scott Dumas is hard at work with a team of therapists at Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids in hopes of regaining what he lost in a devastating hit and run crash.

April 16th, 2014 is a day that Scott Dumas has no memory of, but itâ??s a day his wife will never forget.

That spring day, Scott was walking through the parking lot of a Ludington grocery store when he was hit by a car. Seriously hurt, Scott was left to cling to life while the driver of the car drove away. Scottâ??s injuries were devastating. "I have been told by people who were there that they can not believe he lived through it" Scott's wife Kathy says.

Scott was rushed to the hospital, where doctors began dealing with bleeding in his brain, a massive skull facture, a compound fracture of his ankle, a spiral fracture of his fibula, and deep cuts all over this body. Kathy remembers the first time she was allowed in to see her husband, "he looked pretty bad, he was in the E.R., beat up, they tried to clean him up as much as they could, he wasn't responsive at all, he was in a lot of pain, that was hard to see him for the first time."

Scott's broken bones could be operated on, his cuts stitched up but his short term memory was gone. His behavior was uncharacteristic. Those around Scott say his mind seemed to be misfiring. Kathy says "There were so many times his reaction to us just wasn't him, and our first night at Mary Free Bed it just wasn't his personality."

The shock of dealing with Scott's immediate trauma was replaced with fear of dealing with his lingering head wound, as a wife of 30 years hardly knew the man she was caring for. "What is he going to be like? Is he going to be the same dad? Is he going to be the same husband to me because it wasn't him? Am I going to be taken care of him as a different person? How do I handle this?" Kathy would ask herself.

But Scott began to make progress in marathon therapy sessions, by working on his speech, his balance, learning to perform everyday functions with a broken body and disorganized mind. He celebrated the small successes as small steps up a mountain.

While his memory since the accident remained clouded, Kathy remembers well one day when the clouds parted. "One of the things he did in ICU that just really set my daughter and I to tears, was when the doctor asked him who I was, he reached up and touched my hair and said, this is my beautiful wife,â?? says Kathy. Scott's memory of events before the accident were solid, but he lost about 6 weeks worth of events after the accident. It was only recently that he began to remember recent events.

Remarkably Scott isn't overwhelmed by the healing road ahead of him. He knows it will be a long one. Healing from a brain injury takes time and a lot of work to relearn what is lost. He tackles the challenges of therapy with a competitive and relentless spirit. He is tough, but this man, who has survived what few expected him to, is simply overcome by something as seemingly harmless as homemade cards from his students. "Because of the brain injury he is very sentimental, it brings tears to his eyes constantly to look through just a couple of cards. We have had to be very careful with what we tell him," explains Kathy.

The support, the prayers, the help from neighbors and the doctors and therapists have helped Scott take huge strides towards someday being able to return to his classroom as a teacher. Kathy and Scott aren't angry with that driver who nearly ended a life and drove away, instead they are so grateful for the people who have stayed beside them. They say many blessings have actually come out of this crash. They donâ??t spend any time wondering why this happened to them. Their faith makes them confident that someday they will know. "We don't understand all of this at this point, but I think someday we will. We just have to accept there is a reason for this and it will be shown to us at some point" Kathy says.

Scott was able to return home for the first the second of week of May. He will continue with outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids through July.