Local Skier Relies on Mercy Rehab

February 15, 2014


David Kennedy, right, counts on the Outpatient

Rehab team at Mercy to keep him on the slopes.

Children in China count on David to help them

learn the English language.

In the words of the Wizard of Oz, David Kennedy is a "good deed doer," but he doesn't limit his philanthropic service to his hometown of Barnhart, Mo. David has frequently responded to a call to teach English at a missionary school in China.


David also enjoys snow skiing. That hobby, and his desire to hit the slopes once more, brought him to the Mercy Outpatient Rehabilitation Center following a four-month teaching assignment in Lanzhou Gansu China.


While in China in 2012, David lived in an apartment on the eighth floor of a building with no elevators. On his first day, at the top of the eighth flight of stairs, he felt a surge of pain in his knee. His meniscus was torn, but for four more months, he climbed those stairs and walked the 40-minutes to his class.


"At the end of Day 3, I asked the Lord to allow me to be able to continue to be able to do what He desired. The pain did not matter," David said. "He did that, and He showed me what ice could do. He showed me what hiking in the mountains around the school could do. I was amazed that as long as I kept moving, all felt pretty good."


When he returned to his Jefferson County home in July, David began pre-operative rehabilitation at Mercy Hospital Jefferson. On July 31, orthopedic surgeon Craig Ruble, MD, repaired the damaged cartilage.


Following surgery, David was back in the rehabilitation gym at Mercy. Throughout the autumn of 2012, he continued to build strength in his repaired knee. With the help and encouragement of the physical therapists and nurses, he was anxious to get back on the snow-covered slopes of Colorado.


"I have been in the rehabilitation program a couple of times," David said. "I use my body a lot, and it helps me stay fit. The rehab specialists have always been encouraging and at the same time, not letting me try to go too far too fast. I appreciate that."


He reached his goal of returning to the Rockies for some skiing in February 2013. Then he answered a call once more, to help others a half a world away.


"From March 2013 through August 2013, I was in WuHan teaching English," David said. "I loved it. Hot weather and some great jogging a couple of days a week along the Yangtze River."


While Lindsay Vonn may be the most famous American not competing in the alpine skiing Super Giant Slalom races this weekend in Sochi, Russia, another great USA down-hiller has found a different way to make his mark on the Asia continent.

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