SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls man continues to make great strides following a horrible accident last summer that left him seriously hurt.
Jon Clarey was riding his moped when he collided with an SUV at the intersection of 49th Street and Solberg Avenue in southwest Sioux Falls. He was taken to the hospital with two broken vertebrae, multiple broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and a fractured skull.
Doctors said it could be a couple of years before he makes a full recovery.
Boy, is he proving them wrong.
“Jon is an excellent example of progress,” Sanford Health speech therapist Hailey Brown said.
Clarey is now finishing up months of speech therapy, which he started back in September.
In the beginning, Clarey’s speech was so bad that his wife said she had a hard time communicating with him for the first two months.
He says at first he sounded like this.
“It’s like ‘Hi I’m Jon’ stuff like that it was tough,” Clarey said.
But today, thanks to speech therapy, he can communicate clearly. He’s learned to eat again, too, something he couldn’t do for awhile.
“But now I can eat whatever I want yeah, you put a steak in front of me see you later, six minutes it’s gone,” Clarey said.
May is designated as Speech Therapy Awareness Month, and Clarey is a prime example of what it can do for someone who has been seriously injured.
His therapist says Clarey needed help with speaking, swallowing and even his cognitive skills.
“We’ve worked on paying bills, we’ve worked on time management, all those things that are required to return to employment,” Brown said.
Which Clarey plans to do in a couple of months thanks to the support of his wife, family and, of course, his therapists.
“It’s been a long, long, tough journey,” Clarey said.
“He doesn’t need me anymore,” laughs Brown.