SPC student overcomes trauma to attend college

Published: Feb. 20, 2014 at 3:43 PM CST
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Source: South Plains College
Source: South Plains College

Provided by South Plains College

His life changed in a blink of an eye. One minute Kody Fields of Earth, TX was driving his pickup down a dirt road. The next, he was involved in a T-bone collision that nearly took his life.

As a high school senior in 2008, Fields was involved in a horrific accident on Sept. 19. The accident was his fault but the consequences were much more than what everyone expected. He suffered a bruised spleen, bruised colon and tore his diaphragm which made his lung collapse. Fields also tore the wings on the vertebra in his neck, and he broke his left femur.

Fields also suffered a severe brain injury. His diagnosis was grim – his parents were told that if he ever came out of the coma, he would never walk and he would exist in a vegetative state. The doctors said Fields would only live for about three weeks.

"Some people say that I'm a living miracle," Fields said. "Well, I say that I just haven't done my job yet."

On Jan. 6, 2009, Fields was transferred to the Transitional Learning Center (TLC) in Lubbock. After a two-month intensive rehabilitation program, Fields started walking again with aide of a walker. Throughout the summer, he continued his physical therapy at home by walking 155 laps in a circular 15-foot swimming pool. He said that when he was in school, mathematics and equations were easy for him. His dad, Jim, told him to calculate the number of laps he needed to walk to walk a mile.

Fields was a multi-talented student athlete in high school. At 6 foot 2 inches and 195 pounds, he played football, basketball, track and tennis. In his junior year, he was named first team linebacker, second team full back, first team all-district in basketball, all-district Most Valuable Player in tennis and all-area Most Valuable Player in track.

"While I was in the coma, I lost more muscle mass than many people ever gain," he said. "I promised myself that I would walk across stage for my high school graduation, and I did."

Fields finish his required coursework in English, Economics and Government during five of the six months while staying at the TLC. He graduated number seven in his class of 33. Fields tried to pick up the pieces of his life prior to the accident.

"In fall 2010, I came to South Plains College," Fields said. "My first year in college was extremely hard. I had to learn how to study again."

Even though the physical journey was difficult, Fields said the quest for academics was even more arduous than he expected. He said he could remember everything that happened in his life prior to the accident. His memory since Thanksgiving 2008 is choppy, at best.

Fields had to learn how to study all over again. In spring 2011, he sought help from the STAR Center at SPC where he received tutoring in his courses.

Misfortune stepped into Field's life again on Feb. 2, 2011 when he rode his bike off the curb at McGee Hall. He broke his right wrist. Fields suffers from seizures which causes issues with his balance. Since coming to SPC, he suffered seizures on April 9, 2010, October 2010, December 2010 and February 2011. He takes medication to control the seizures; however, he now is unable to write with his right hand which tremors uncontrollably.

"I now have a 2.49 grade point average which is pretty amazing considering where I started," Fields said. "I find that I have to read my chapters a few times to make sure that I retain the information for my classes."

Fields plan to attend West Texas A&M University when he finishes his studies at South Plains College in December.

"At first, I didn't know what I wanted to do but by spring 2012, I decided to major in Business with a major focus in Finance," Fields said. "My goal is to one day become a financial assistant or financial manager for a bank. "

"I have been here for four years," he said. "I know this is a two-year school but you have to know my story to understand why it has taken me a little bit longer than most students to make it through."