Josh Shilling injury update

Josh Shilling of Mountain Heart has shared an update about his recovery after being in a scary ATV accident with his wife and daughter while on vacation last month. Fortunately, their daughter, Bella Kate, was not seriously affected physically, but Josh and Aleah have serious injuries that will require many months in treatment and recovery.

He tells us that the injuries they sustained are actually much worse than what were diagnosed after the accident, but that he and Aleah are doing much better than the doctors expected. 

Here’s his update…

“Hey Friends! So many folks have asked how things are going with us and our injuries, so I wanted to update everyone now that we’ve received our MRI results and spoken to the doctors. While the extent of the injuries seems to change every time we see a doctor, here’s what we know now.

I have 3 vertebrae fractures. The worst one has a height loss of 50%, which means it was basically smashed in half. They say that that particular vertebra (T12) is causing most of my pain at this point. They say that it would take a major impact on someone my age to cause this type of damage. The neurosurgeon says that this injury causes many of his patients to be in excruciating pain, and sometimes in a wheelchair. He’s amazed that I’m moving around and working already. So I’m doing great!

We’re currently almost at 6 weeks since the accident. I’ve been in a brace since then, and they’ve requested another six weeks with the brace, no lifting and repeat scans. Also on my MRI, they noted 4 protruding discs and some tears, and they saw increased signaling which the neurosurgeon thinks is a spinal cord bruise. This can cause any number of problems. If you Google it (don’t), you’ll see a lot of the symptoms I had for the first couple of weeks. Basically, you can lose control and function of your body. They expect me to physically shrink some from the fractures (I was sort of short anyway 😂), but the surgeon thinks I can eventually fully recover from this without surgery. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know about long-term pain at this point, but hopefully that will slowly ease up.

Aleah found out that she also has two fractured vertebrae and a pretty severe protruding disc. Her fractures aren’t as bad as mine, thankfully, but they still hurt like crazy. They think she has a concussion and we both have additional soft tissue injuries. All that said, they think with physical therapy and probably a lot of time, we should be able to get back to normal.

Considering how things could have gone and actually what we were anticipating, this is AMAZING news. This definitely isn’t ideal, and I may have some pain in the future, but things could have been so much worse. I also got the neurosurgeon to agree to me playing a couple of upcoming shows. I can’t lift anything, and I’m supposed to get a wheelchair in the airports, and I’m supposed to be in a brace and resting unless we’re playing the show. Soooo… I’m going to try it next week in Omaha with Mountain Heart! Wish me luck! 

We wanted to thank everyone for your comments, messages, thoughts, and prayers. We’ve felt the love and every prayer for sure. Our friends have almost completely covered our max out of pocket which is absolutely unbelievable. We can’t thank each of you enough. I’ve tried to thank everyone that I knew how to contact. The kindness and overwhelming generosity is mind-boggling. I’ve never been through anything like this, but I’m dumbfounded by the support we’ve been shown. Thank you all so so much.

For now, we’re focused on healing and hoping our insurance will cover all these claims!  We will update you guys again as things progress. Thank you all so much.”

Don’t forget that a GoFundMe campaign has been launched by a family friend of the Shillings, should you be in a position to help them with major medical expenses.

Best wishes to Josh and Aleah in recovery. And don’t slap him on the back if you catch Mountain Heart in Omaha!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.