played piano on Wednesday nights at Eickhoff Dining Hall was recently injured in a car accident that may leave him paralyzed from the mid-back down.
“One of the first things he said was, ‘Thank God the injury wasn’t higher,” Emily Possenti, senior fine arts major, said. “He still has the use of his hands and arms, so he can still play the piano.”
The accident occurred as David Schlossberg was returning to the College on Jan. 21 from a temple in New Brunswick at approximately 11 p.m. via Rt. 1 South. He was stopped at a traffic light near the Regal Cinemas with three cars in front of him, when an intoxicated 29-year-old woman driving a Nissan rammed into the back of his Saturn. The woman was not wearing a seat belt and was driving at a speed of at least 60 miles per hour.
New Brunswick Police and emergency medical personnel responded and transported Schlossberg to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Schlossberg was wearing his seat belt and the air bags in his car were released. However, he suffered eight broken ribs, a punctured lung, a lacerated spleen and damage to a thoracic vertebrate.
The woman who hit him suffered a broken eye socket, while the occupants of the three cars in front of Schlossberg were not identified as suffering any major injuries. The woman has been charged with reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and failing to wear a seat belt. Further legal action is pending.
Schlossberg spent a week at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where he underwent surgery to remove the shattered pieces of bone from his vertebrate and to stabilize the bone with staples.
Despite the damage to the vertebrate, his spinal cord was not severed, but he has no feeling from the vertebrate down. Doctors give him a less than 58 percent chance of walking again.
On Feb. 1, Schlossberg was transported to the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, the same institute where Christopher Reeve was treated.
Schlossberg will remain at Kessler for several months in a regimented therapy program involving exercises to help him learn to lift his body with his arms and perform other daily activities.
“He’s in a ridiculous amount of pain. The therapy is very hard and painful,” Lisa Genovese, senior fine arts and art history major and friend of Schlossberg, said.
Each day, doctors test his ability to move his lower limbs.
Last Thursday, Schlossberg was capable of some movement in his left leg, yet doctors do not want to get his hopes up.
Schlossberg played the Peace Piano at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts this fall to raise money for needy children.
He cancelled his enrollment from the College for the semester and is unsure if he will be able to participate in this year’s graduation ceremonies.
“He has a huge support system, not just his family but his friends too,” Possenti said. “He’s pretty optimistic – scared but optimistic.”