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State Council for Persons with Disabilities

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My name is Shannon M. Simons. I am 44 years old, reside in Magnolia, DE. I currently teach at Alexis I. DuPont High School in Wilmington, DE and Delaware Technical Community College. On December 26, 1993, I was involved in a life-changing car accident, due to slippery road conditions, in an area just outside of Shinglehouse, PA, my hometown. I was 18 years old at the time and the driver of the automobile. Upon the impact of the driver side of my car and a tree, neighboring the right side of the highway, I was found unconscious by a nurse traveling by approximately 5-6 minutes following the crash. Phyllis Carpenter, the nurse passerby, gained access to the interior of my Hyundai Excel, opened my airway, and revived me. Once my respiration initiated, Ms. Carpenter contacted residents from nearest house/trailer, and alerted them of the accident. Emergency vehicles arrived shortly after; I was cut from my car via the Jaws of Life and rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital. My consciousness was compromised multiple times in route to the hospital, a 30-minute drive, due to the hazardous road conditions. Upon arrival to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, PA, I was examined, and it was determined that I needed further support, not available in this facility. I was Mercy-Flighted to Robert Packer Memorial Hospital in Sayre, PA., where I was administered life support for four days in critical condition. The hospital stabilized my condition for 6 days, which included assessing my brain trauma, operating on my crushed left elbow, and braced my right broken collar bone. It was determined that I sustained a closed head injury that resulted in moderate to severe brain damage, especially in the left frontal lobe area. Along with this, upon my collision with the tree at the accident site, nine of my teeth were crushed in my upper palate of my mouth cavity. I was also unable to walk due to the blow to the left side of my head. Involuntarily, my right toes would point inward making me fall with each step I attempted to take. I was confined to a wheelchair for the time being. After my ten day stay at the hospital, I was transported to Lake Erie Institution of Rehabilitation to aid me in achieving any recovery I may. Upon arrival and assessments, the doctors present shared with my parents that an estimated 6-9-month stay would be minimal and expectations for significant recovery were low.

After 6 weeks of cognitive, speech, occupational, and physical therapies, I exited the center. I returned to my hometown, graduated from high school, and headed off to college at Mansfield University, where I graduated Cum Laude after 4 years with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and academic minor in Criminal Justice Administration. Later, I earned Master’s Degrees in Education and Educational Leadership from Wilmington College (University).

I am so thankful for God’s love and mercy and many blessings, my family and friends who stood by me, all the opportunities I have had due to support from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation , and to all the physicians, specialists, and the nurse Phyllis Carpenter from Illinois who brought back life to my body. Without all of these wonderful people, I would not be here with you today.