Trooper James C. Lawson
GATE CITY — A Virginia State Police trooper who sustained a spinal cord injury last month during a high-speed pursuit is making “significant progress” with his rehabilitation at Shepherd Center of Atlanta, the hospital announced Thursday.
Trooper James C. Lawson, 41, of Gate City, has been receiving inpatient treatment in the Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit for the injuries he received in the April 9 wreck. Lawson was transported to the center by a VSP helicopter on April 18.
On Thursday, doctors at the Atlanta facility said Lawson now is able to walk short distances with the use of a nerve-stimulating device. Doctors said Lawson’s walking has been more limited recently because of the pain occurring in his left leg as his recovery progresses.
“Officer Lawson is recovering well, despite this setback,” Shepherd Center physician Anna C. Elmers said. “He has a great spirit and been working hard in therapy. We look forward to seeing him walk more in the future.”
Lawson is expected to be discharged May 20 before immediately beginning the hospital’s day-patient rehabilitation program.
The hospital said Lawson will continue to be treated by a team that includes an attending physician, a nurse, an occupational therapist, a speech language pathologist and other specialists.
While in the day-patient program, Lawson will receive assistance from family, friends and co-workers who have volunteered to take shifts as his caregiver, a hospital spokeswoman said.
“Officer Lawson has received great support from his family and community during his rehabilitation, and it has been a strong encouragement to him,” Elmers said.
A benefit fund to help offset medical expenses for Lawson and his family has been set up at area New People’s Bank locations. A charity motorcycle ride is also being organized by area law enforcement for June 2.