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Ohio State student loses leg, stays positive in ‘very painful’ recovery

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Things haven’t always been easy for Ohio State student James Daniel Hughes, but they’re getting better.
Hughes lost a leg after being hit by a dump truck on OSU’s campus three months ago, but has kept a positive attitude during the slow and painful recovery.
Hughes was hit on Sept. 5 while riding his bike near a construction site on Woodruff Avenue, and was taken immediately to Wexner Medical Center.
Steve Crandall, the Hughes’ family lawyer, said Hughes has been discharged from the Medical Center and is being treated at Dodd Hall Inpatient Rehabilitation. Even though he is recovering, Hughes is still in a lot of pain, Crandall said.
“Daniel is trying to regain some function in his left leg, but there is none yet,” Crandall said. “We don’t know whether it’s permanent, but it’s very painful.”
Hughes has had many surgeries since the accident.
“I can’t even count the number of surgeries,” Crandall said. “Initial surgeries, surgeries to control infection, the surgery to reattach his spinal chord.”
Three months after the accident occurred, the investigation is still ongoing as information has yet to be released to the family.
“It’s beyond any reasonable time frame and it makes me think it’s beyond a legal time frame,” Crandall said.
OSU Police Chief Paul Denton said they are still in the process of completing the investigation.
“When it is completed, we will share it with the Hughes family and Mr. Crandall,” Denton said in an email. “We continue to be concerned with the well-being of Daniel and his family.”
Even though the investigation is not going as quickly as Crandall would like, he said the family is very grateful for the Wexner Medical Center and their staff.
“On behalf of the family, they are extremely thankful of Ohio State and the care providers,” Crandall said. “They have been amazing.”
Since being released to Dodd Hall Inpatient Rehabilitation, Hughes has continued to improve.
Mark Kalina, a 23-year-old OSU student in civil engineering was hit by a train Oct. 13, was his roommate at Dodd when Hughes was first transferred. As a result of his accident, Kalina lost his left leg and his right leg below the knee.
Kalina said Hughes’ personality was amazing when he was there and in the six days the two were roommates, Kalina said Hughes showed big improvements.  
“When he first came he couldn’t put weight on his left leg, but when I left he was putting weight on the one leg,” Kalina said. “He just has a lot of hard work and time ahead of him.”
Both Crandall and Kalina agreed that Hughes might be able to return to school sometime in the future.  
“There is some hope he can go back to school,” Crandall said. “It’s far off into the future. Right now would be very difficult.”
Hughes was involved in one of several accidents in the campus area since the beginning of the school year.
The day after Hughes’ accident, OSU student Yifan Gu was struck by a bicyclist near Chumley’s on High Street, and was transported to the Medical Center with injuries.
On Aug. 19 first-year student Rachel Stump was stuck by a drunk driver near the South Campus Gateway. Stump, who was in a coma as a result of the accident, is recovering in her hometown of Troy, Ohio.
Other bicycle accidents with less severe injuries were also reported on campus around the same time.
Crandall said Hughes has come a long way since the accident, and Kalina said he thinks he has a bright future ahead.
 “He’s a tough kid,” Kalina said. “It’s inspiring to see him. He is definitely going to get better.”

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