Living in rural New Waterford, Ohio, 19-year-old Joey Hawkins grew up fishing, hunting, motocross racing and dirt biking.
“Joey prefers activities that give me heart palpitations and usually end up with cuts, bruises or stitches,” joked his mom, Angie. “He’s been a daredevil since the age of 3.”
In November 2022, Joey and some friends were riding near his home. He readily admits they were riding too fast and goofing around – a known precursor to accidents. After taking a high-impact spill from his dirt bike, Joey was left with numerous abrasions to his arms, legs and back – and a fractured ankle that landed him in Akron Children’s Beeghly campus emergency room (ER).
“My brother and I have been to the ER on multiple occasions. My mom has a level of trust with Akron Children’s, and especially with sports medicine physician Dr. Christopher Liebig,” said Joey.
“While I could have taken Joey to an adult facility, it didn’t really even cross my mind,” said Angie. “Akron Children’s staff is so knowledgeable and compassionate when it comes to the care of kids.”
As an established patient of Dr. Liebig, Angie was able to get Joey a next-day appointment to have his fracture evaluated.
“We were initially referred to an orthopedist, but the wait was going to be 2 weeks, so I asked Dr. Liebig’s office if they could get us in,” she said.
“Our new Sports Health service line hopes to enact a ‘when can you get here approach’ ensuring that access to our team of experts is rapid and straightforward, and I want to model this as best as possible,” said Dr. Liebig.
It turns out Joey’s fracture needed close attention as it was initially borderline surgical and then even shifted despite efforts with immobilization.
“I was able to speak with a number of our orthopedists throughout Joey’s healing process,” said Dr. Liebig. “Joey’s abrasions and wounds also required the expertise of our dermatologists as some were healing slower than expected. It was wonderful to use our new platform ‘e-consults’ where one of our dermatologists was able to respond the same day with their recommendations.”
“Dr. Liebig was so thorough with us,” said Angie. “I had no doubts when we left there that Joey was going to be OK.”
“My team and I are honored that the family thinks so much of us,” said Dr. Liebig. “We don’t take such trust for granted.”
After the fracture eventually healed, Akron Children’s athletic trainers gave Joey exercises to help him rehab his ankle.
“I did a lot of stretching, ankle rotations and heel lifts to help work on my ankle mobility and strengthening,” said Joey.
“Joey has responded well to his treatment,” said Dr. Liebig. “His patience with his injuries has allowed him to return to work with no limitations. However, I would certainly encourage some bracing with any high-impact activities.”
Dr. Liebig says he’s happy that Joey came away from his accident with only minor injuries.
“Others aren’t so lucky to avoid head and neck injuries including concussion with such a high-velocity accident,” he said.
Akron Children’s welcomes new patients up through age 21 and will continue to see patients with established relationships with specialists, typically for chronic conditions, until they turn 26 years old.
With a brand-new ER on the hospital’s Beeghly campus in Boardman, the new facility increases the ER’s square footage from 9,600 to 34,700 and features:
- 23 treatment rooms, including 3 behavioral health flex rooms
- A private behavioral health waiting room
- Isolation rooms
- Easy access for Air Bear, Akron Children’s dedicated transport helicopter
- Dedicated suture rooms
- Radiology services that use lower amounts of radiation
Joey, who is currently a pre-apprentice in the electrician’s union, is back to work but isn’t back on his bike quite yet.
“I’ve been riding bikes my entire life so I’m not going to let this accident stop me,” he said.
Akron Children’s new ER is located at 6505 Market St. in Boardman.