SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO)– Back in August of 2021, Skylar McCaulley suffered a severe brain bleed which led to several surgeries, 51 days in the ICU then time at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals in Lincoln.

Now a year later, his recovery continues and he is starting back up from where he left off.

After Skylar McCaulley suffered a massive brain bleed in the summer of 2021…

“Thankfully I’m alive so I told my mom I have no reason to experience another negative emotion,” Skylar McCaulley said.

He planned to take a year off from work and college to recover.

“I’m hoping early next school year I’ll be doing interviews, that would be best case scenario, and then I’ll be attending medical school in fall of 2023,” Skylar said.

McCaulley spent the last year working on his occupational, speech and physical therapy and is ready to pick up where he left off.

“The support I’ve received from family, friends and everyone else has just been overwhelming. I felt that my ability to give back and hopefully try to get on the track has been really important. That has really driven me to try to recover so that I can get back to where I was,” McCaulley said.

McCaulley is now able to walk on his own. He’s also excited to able to drive and partake in his favorite hobbies.

“I’m someone who really wants to keep going. I don’t like to feel stagnant,” McCaulley said.

He has also resumed his classes at the University of Sioux Falls.

“I have some physical deficiencies that have been improving. But it feels amazing to be back in class be able to learn again, and be able to follow along as I used to,” McCaulley said.

“Cognitively, everything’s there, everything’s intact. He challenges me almost every day in class, he’ll ask some really good questions, and has this curiosity that exceeds probably most students curiosity,” said Bill Soeffing, Professor and Chair of the Natural Sciences.

Bill Soeffing is one of McCaulley’s professors and a long time friend of his family.

“Skylar has always been a great student. He’s always been very academic and has always excelled,” Soeffing said.

He says McCaulley jumped right back into his studies without missing a beat.

“He is driven, unlike many students, and that drive is something that’s never disappeared from the time that he was just recuperating, and not real ambulatory yet. He was already talking about what classes am I taking next?” Soeffing said.

McCaulley plans to complete his bachelor’s degree by next May and has already been accepted into medical school.

“I feel that it’s my calling to go into medicine,” McCaulley said.

While he does not have a specific area of focus, he wants to become a doctor.

“This experience just helped increase my empathy and ability to understand what patients are going through,” McCaulley said.

In addition to Skylar working as a full time student at the University of Sioux Falls, he also returned to his job at Sanford Hospital.

Where he works as a cardiac technician.

“What I watch is the heart rhythms, heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and more for usually around 40 to 50 patients,” McCaulley said.

“He doesn’t just look at the EKGs, he analyzes them, he breaks it down. He’s asking questions, and really challenges those around him to think further,” said Kyah Broders, Supervisor and Nursing Director of Cardiology.

Kyah Broders is his supervisor. When she learned he had been accepted into medical school, she says it was no surprise.

“When you’re able to build and create better teamwork around you just by asking questions and challenging others and educating possibly even in the same moment, you really do help provide well rounded medical care,” Broders said.

Despite the setbacks from his incident, McCaulley says he will continue moving toward his goal.

“My goals have not changed. Although this event happened in it, it didn’t stop my journey. It just temporarily halted it. And I think that’s kind of what has been very characteristic of my drive is that it hasn’t changed from what the way it was before,” McCaulley said.

While completing his rehab he received the Madonna Goal Award. It’s given to patients for their outstanding courage and determination during their medical rehabilitation.