Jill Smalldon, Sam's mother and KCON director of communications and
external relations, said Sam underwent brain surgery to remove a
hematoma. He also suffered bruised lungs and kidneys and broken bones.
"From that first night at Helen DeVos, I stayed with Sam. A
friend came to give me some clothes," Smalldon said.
After a week in intensive care, Sam was transferred to a regular
hospital floor before moving in late September to Mary Free Bed
Rehabilitation Hospital for recovery, which, at that point,
"looked grim at best," Smalldon said.
Sam said he could not do anything for himself when he arrived at Mary
Free Bed. He began to notice the nursing staff and their roles, he said.
"They basically saved me," he said. "They took care of
everything. I had a feeding tube and needed round-the-clock care."
For their part, the nursing staff began rooting for Sam quickly, Jill
"They basically became part of my family," she said.
"Some would come in and give him a high-five before starting
their shift. Some nurses had special handshakes they would do with him."