When people think of an honor guard, they tend to visualize a tall, strong man in uniform. A military honor guard’s presence at a funeral signifies strength and serves as a reminder to the congregation that their soldier is appreciated and respected. Just the visual alone of the perfectly polished honor guard provides support during a time filled with questions and deep sadness.
Steve Imburgia has provided that stoic support to so many families in the Rochester, NY area throughout his career as a Military Honor Guard. On February 11th, 2012, Steve had just completed a service with military honors and was headed to his second funeral just miles away. As Steve merged onto the thruway, his car was hit and pushed into the path of an oncoming vehicle which forced Steve’s car over the median and straight into the base of a steel thruway sign. At the moment of impact, not one of Steve’s airbags deployed.
Since that frightening day, Steve has learned how to turn to others for support. He went from wearing his perfectly tailored uniform to a body cast, actually referred to as a “turtle shell” for obvious reasons. He suffered a broken jaw and the long time athlete had to have his mouth wired shut for two months losing 40 pounds. Steve fractured his back, right femur, right ankle, all of his ribs and punctured both his lungs.
After a month in the hospital and several months of physical therapy through the VA, Steve eventually needed to be seen 3 times a week to complete his rehabilitation goals. The day of his first appointment, he filled our clinic with smiles, laughter and inspiration. Working alongside his therapist Allison Pulvino, DPT, he quickly became part of our Sports PT family. Everyone knows people in the military are disciplined so it should come as no surprise that Steve never complains about doing his exercises. He actually looks forward to coming to PT, he enjoys the social atmosphere and said he feels better every day. Although, he may not be back on the baseball field or fairways just yet, Steve gains inspiration from his fellow patients seeing their progress.
What a difference a year makes! Steve’s mobility in his back, right ankle and knee has improved greatly. He continues to have limitations with pain, but overall has made significant functional movement gains. We feel honored to be able to provide inspiration and support to someone who has served and inspired so many.