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Wotring battles back from a head injury [The Dominion Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fairmont Bureau Chief
The Dominion Post

He swerved to miss a child running after a dog and his car plunged 50 feet over a cliff.
Stanley Wotring Jr., then 19, doesn’t remember that. He just knows he woke up after 11 days later from a coma. He was unable to speak or move the left side of his body.

The Harrison County native suffered a massive head injury. The injury to his leg has left him with a permanent limp.

He does remember the time before the accident when he was a pre-med major starting his sophomore year at West Virginia Wesleyan College. An A student who lettered in high school baseball, he spent his spare time studying for his career as a doctor and for fun jogging along the roads of West Virginia.

For months after that Oct. 7 accident, though, he’d spent about 12 hours each day exercising his body—and eventually resuming college classes through the mail to exercise his mind.

Four years later, he has made tremendous progress. He was able to walk up to the graduation podium to receive his bachelor of arts diploma in psychology. He graduated with a 3.4 / 4.0 average.

Although med school is no longer in his plans, Wotring says he’s not too disappointed.

“To be honest, I never liked school. I studied all the time and took extra classes so I could get out faster,” he admits. “So not going for an extra four years is okay with me.”

Rather, he’s looking forward to tackling his new job as a case manager for the Medicaid program at the Council for Independent Living.

“You can’t dwell on the frustration,” he says, but concedes there are occasions when it is difficult to keep a positive outlook. “Last Sunday I went out for a walk along the roads of Elkins and a police officer pulled me over because he thought from the way I
was walking, that I was drunk.”

After a lengthy explanation, the officer finally figured out the situation. He’s working on a book, “Scared Innocence,” to help others figure out what life is like from his perspective, as well.

“It recounts the agony of my accident and recovery,” Wotring explains. “I want others to know that when life doesn’t work out as you planned, you can get back on track again.”


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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.