UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Utica College alum returned to campus on Thursday to address students where he sat nearly 30 years ago.
Class of '83 graduate Christopher Hotaling suffered a traumatic brain injury 13 years ago when a steel door struck him in the head while he was evacuating a burning building. His condition worsened before a doctor finally determined he'd suffered a traumatic brain injury. The road to recovery was a long one, with more than a year of rehabilitation and small challenges that still present themselves to this day.
However, Hotaling wants to make one thing clear, that just because doctors say you've plateaued doesn't mean you can't continue to improve over time.
"It is not the catastrophic event that defines who you are. But rather, how you respond to that event that dictates who you become," says Hotaling. The class of '83 graduate spoke on Thursday to U.C. students who plan to enter the health field.
Hotaling and his wife, Amy, also a U.C. graduate, have written a book, "Learning to Live Again...A Day at a Time."
The couple says that, while it was traumatic brain injury that set them on their journey of discovery, you can implant any life-changing traumatic event and find the sense of hopefulness.