April 01, 2018
Haley Timko ’19 is a member of both the women’s soccer and basketball teams at Susquehanna, and at 6 feet tall, her presence is easily noticed whether on the field or on the court.
During the soccer season this past fall, she was noticeably absent from her primary position in defense for the River Hawks. Just a few days prior to the student athletes return to campus for preseason practices, Haley was involved in a car accident, and her severe injuries prevented her from participating in an entire season of competition.
“I was driving home from a soccer practice,” says Timko. “It had rained earlier, the roads were wet, and dusk was drawing near. Regrettably, a car approaching in the opposite direction veered into my lane, and I swerved to miss the van. When I swerved again to remain on the road, I lost control and ended up in the ditch, upside down.”
Thankfully, two people who lived nearby heard the loud noise, left their homes, and searched the area. They helped Timko get out of the vehicle by cutting her seatbelt and preventing the car from tipping. “I was scared mostly,” says Timko. “I was able to walk away from the car and call my mother, but when paramedics arrived, they immediately put me in a neck brace and rushed me to the closest emergency room.”
Once x-rays were taken, the doctors could see that she had fractured her C6 and C7 vertebrae. She was then transferred by ambulance to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., where she stayed while further tests were administered to help determine the extent of her injuries. Thankfully, surgery was not necessary.
“I needed to wear a cumbersome, stiff neck brace for three months,” says Timko. “After the bones healed, I was able to remove the brace. Still, my recovery would entail substantial rehab to restrengthen the muscles and regain flexibility and mobility in my neck.”
That rehabilitation meant that she would spend a lot of time in the Susquehanna training room. “It was pretty neat because all the other athletes doing rehab with me had the same hope of being able to come back and play,” says Timko. “It was like a second family down there, and we all encouraged each other every day.”
Timko did make it back for the second half of the basketball season and saw limited action, but she has every expectation to be back at full strength for next year’s soccer and basketball seasons her senior year. “I just want to thank everyone-my family, my friends, my teammates, my doctors, my teachers, my coaches and trainers—who prayed, encouraged and supported me during my recovery.”