October 10, 2012
Matt Miller was your typical UVa student, until a serious bike accident on the Blue Ridge Parkway in November of 2008. While training for a triathlon, Miller lost control of his bike, swerving into oncoming traffic. The third-year student broke every bone in his face and suffered brain damage.
"I remember looking at Matt and thinking to myself, he would be lucky to return to college again," said Dr. James Forrest Calland, a surgeon at the UVa Medical Center.
Not only did Miller return to college, he took a physics exam within weeks of the accident. "He was determined to get back and he was so positive about his recovery, I think that had a lot to do with why he did so well," said Michael Vitez, a journalist who documented Miller's recovery for his local paper in Pennsylvania.
Vitez decided to turn the stories into a book, "The Road Back: A Story of Grace and Grit". Vitez spoke to a group of medical students at UVa on the power of healing through story-telling.
"His recovery is unprecedented, unremarkable, unbelievable, and inspiring," Vitez said.
Miller graduated on time in 2010 and even got back on his bike to compete in a triathlon.
"As a scientist, I'm often hesitant to use the word miracle but sometimes things occur that defy rational explanation," said Callard.
"Matt's recovery was rapid and complete to an extent that I would not have predicted."
Miller is now in his third year of medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. He says he hopes to help others, like he was once helped.