On September 12, 2014 James McGinnis collapsed on the field after making a solo tackle during an Olathe East Varsity Football game. James was rushed to a nearby hospital where he spent 18 days in the intensive care unit after emergency brain surgery for a subdural hematoma. After surgery he spent five days in a coma. When James began to come out of the coma the full extent of the traumatic brain injury was not yet known. He could not speak or open his eyes but James let everyone know he was ready to fight his way to recovery with a simple “I love you” hand sign.
James and his family spent the next seven months in Lincoln, Nebraska for inpatient rehabilitation before returning to Kansas City to continue his rehabilitation at Ability KC. At Ability KC, he participated in Adolescent and Adult Medical Rehabilitation as well as Assistive Communication and Computer Technology Programs. When James first arrived at Ability KC he was primarily using a wheelchair and had difficulty communicating, drinking from a cup, feeding himself, standing, and walking. After a year of physical, occupational and speech therapy, James had reached his goals. He was able to feed himself, drink from a straw without assistance, walk independently with supervision, perform fine motor skill tasks, and had increased his strength to the level where he was able to do unassisted pull ups.
Today, James is attending community college and has set new goals of graduating and returning to driving.