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Occupational Therapist Welcomes the Unique Opportunities that Come with Each New Day 

May 10, 2011

No two days are the same for Kevin Smith, Occupational Therapist (OT) and Certified Hand Therapist at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.

“Basically my work entails helping anyone who, for whatever reason, can't do the things in life they want or need to do,” said Smith.  “It can include specialized occupational therapy to help an individual return to their normal lifestyle following a major surgery such as fracture or tendon repair to helping someone learn the skills they need to live an independent, satisfying and productive life after a permanent impairment such as a stroke or a disability.

Kevin Smith knows first hand that there will be many twists and turns in life. He would advise everyone to get ready for “the unique opportunities that come with each new day.” At age 20, Smith had a car accident that left him with a spinal cord injury and paralyzed from the waist down. His upbeat outlook and love for people allowed him to stay focused on the future.       

Recovering from the accident, Smith moved past many obstacles.  

He set his sights on a college degree in psychology at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and was his family’s first college graduate.  After graduation, he moved from Roxboro, North Carolina, to upstate New York and married his college sweetheart.    Smith later would study occupational therapy and specialize in hand therapy at Utica College of Syracuse University in upstate New York. 

Smith now spends his days at the hospital helping his patients cope with the social, emotional and physical effects of illness and injury.

My goal for each of my patients is to help them get on with the “occupations" of living. I love my job and feel good about helping others through a period of injury become more independent again,” said Smith.  At the end of the day, I find great satisfaction in knowing that I have helped to solve a problem that will allow my patients to go about the activities they love to do in their lives,” notes Smith. 

Smith has worked for 12 years as an occupational therapist and 7 years as a certified hand therapist at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital and is involved in wheelchair soccer and basketball.  He says, “I encourage others to take full advantage of the unique situations presented in life – from the people they meet to environments they work in. I let patients know that if I can do it, so can they. I have walked in their shoes and now, I am their cheerleader.”

As a sign in Smith’s office reads, “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit, when there are footsteps on the moon.”

The Rehabilitation team at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital includes physical therapists and physical therapy assistant, occupational therapist, speech/language/swallowing pathologist, and audiologist. Together they provide a full range of rehabilitation services to help patients regain function and achieve recovery.

For more information about Rehabilitation Services including Occupational and Hand Therapy Services, at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital call 413-967-2180.