Student helps injured professor recover

Daily rehab sessions help them develop strong bond.

What he remembers is being thrown from his bicycle into a drainage ditch on the side of old route 35 near Cedarville. And George Huff, a professor of social work a Cedarville University, also remembers the pain when he hit the ground.

“It was a nice day in July and I had a meeting at the university and decided to ride my bike in from my home in Shawnee Lake,” Huff said. “I was riding back home and a truck came by and sideswiped me and I was on the ground.”

Huff was literally vaulted from his bicycle and recalls seeing the truck momentarily before everything went black and he lost consciousness. “That was the first time when I really thought I was going to die,” he said.

The second time was while in the hospital awaiting surgery to remove his damaged spleen and stop internal bleeding. “I had extensive internal as well as external injuries,” Huff said. “I have an incision now from my chest to my navel where they opened me up in surgery.”

Huff began his long road to recovery after twelve days in a hospital trauma unit and was unable to return to the fall semester at Cedarville as a result. But during his rehabilitation process, he ended up connecting with a Cedarville student majoring in Exercise Science who has been instrumental in helping Huff in his recovery.

Annisa Albury, a native Bahamian, came to Cedarville four years ago after researching colleges in the US. “My father wanted me to attend a Christian school and that’s how I ended up here,” Albury said.

Now in her senior year and in her last semester, Albury, whose entire family remains in Nassau, met Huff in October after one of her professors introduced them. “I was taking an exercise class for special populations and I was required to get a client and be a trainer for at least ten hours,” she said. “My first client didn’t work out but once I met Professor Huff, I exceeded the required hours and wanted to keep working with him.”

The pair soon developed a unique bond and both began to look forward to daily sessions in the gym working on Huff’s strength and recovery.

“Annisa has really helped me build back endurance and has always been very sensitive to where I am in the process, physically and emotionally,” Huff said. “We met one another at the right time because we’ve been able to help one another with different needs.”

Around the time that Huff had his accident, Albury’s beloved grandmother passed away back home in the Bahamas, leaving Albury distraught and also feeling even isolated being so far from home.

“One of the great things about our story is that after I lost my grandmother, I was seriously considering leaving Cedarville,” Albury said. “Professor Huff came along at a time when I needed encouragement so he’s helping me and I’m helping him. When you work so closely with a person for eight hours a week or more, you naturally become really close. He is like my family here.”

And Huff said that Albury has truly been a blessing to him, helping him work toward going back to teaching full time. “It’s just a highlight of my day now to get to the fitness center, knowing she is going to be there for me,” Huff said. “She has been instrumental in my recovery.”

Huff knows how fortunate he is to be alive and that not everyone survives after being hit by a truck going 55 miles per hour down a highway. “I know that I will be in recovery for some time,” he said. “My doctor said I’m doing remarkably well now with Annisa’s help. She is a great encourager and I believe God brought us together for a reason.”

Albury, who has a year remaining on her Visa, plans to stay in the U.S. to gain more experience in her field and hopes to find employment in a nursing home so she can work with seniors, but she said the highlight of her time at Cedarville has been working with Huff.

“One of the main reasons I stayed here is Professor Huff and his family,” Albury said. “He and his wife have taken me in, and this has meant the world to me being so far away from my own family.”

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Contact this contributing writer at banspach@ymail.com.

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