Ask anyone on campus what they love about the university, and they would say the family environment. There is a strong community on this campus that is undeniable and somewhat unexplainable.
Although everyone experiences the love of the school differently, senior management and marketing double major Clayton Giraudin witnessed it firsthand at the beginning of the semester.
It all started with a back flip and ended in a halo, but the time in between made Giraudin realize that he made the right choice when he chose to attend almost four years ago.
Giraudin’s mother said, “When we first visited UMHB in Clayton’s senior year of high school it was love at first sight. We both knew God was directing his college experience …. And things just fell into place.”
From the moment Giraudin landed on his neck after over rotating his back flip, UMHB employees immediately came to his aid. Health Service Coordinator Debbie Rosenberger and Officer Stephen Mosley helped stabilize him until the paramedics arrived.
Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Steve Theodore realizes the importance of their quick response.
“Their swift response coupled with their knowledge and skills are very likely what prevented Clayton from suffering long term and/ or permanent damage to his spine,” he said.
Word spread quickly around campus that Giraudin was injured and being taken to the hospital, and before anyone knew the results, UMHB went into action.
His mom said, “To have God’s love demonstrated so joyfully, freely…. I can’t say enough about the quality of friends Clayton has at UMHB, kids who eagerly grabbed our hands to pray, friends who visited and stayed so I could take a nap and friends who brought him silly gifts and useful ones.”
The day after the accident, the student had X-rays that determined that his C6 and C9 vertebra were out of place and his C2 was slightly fractured.
This information had not made it back to campus in time before the rumors started.
“There was a rumor that I did a back flip off the O’Rear’s house, but my favorite is the one that I did a back tuck off of my bike while riding it,” he said.
In order to keep the gossip down and the facts straight, Giraudin’s older brother, Scott set up a Facebook update group.
“Looking back on the Facebook group and seeing how many people joined and commented was weird,” Clayton said. “I felt loved by UMHB.”
When he came out of surgery, faculty, staff and friends were anxiously awaiting the report.
Lindajean, his mother remembers that moment vividly when the doctors came out of the operating room four hours early.
“The surgery started at 5 p.m. and the doctors came out at 7:25 p.m. and said, ‘It has been a good day in the O.R. We have had a miracle,’” she said.
That was just the beginning of the good news. Four days after spinal surgery, Giraudin failed his test to go to rehab in Waco — he was too healthy.
“I went from not knowing if I was going to be paralyzed to only being in the hospital for six days. All I walked away with is a halo,” he said. “It’s definitely a God thing.”
Giraudin was originally told he would be in the halo device for three to six months to help stabilize his head and neck. However, after his first post-operation check-up the doctor said they could take it off in eight weeks.
“We are very grateful that Clayton’s injures were not permanent,” Theodore said. “We all know that it’s relatively easy to talk about supporting each other; it’s when times are tough that we find our true character…. Students, faculty and administration all demonstrated love, concern and compassion. This is truly a UMHB family.”
Giraudin said he learned about humility through his accident and just how thankful he is that he chose to come to UMHB.
“Although I didn’t want it to be a big deal, it has been really cool to see everyone care about me,” Giraudin said. “I am not just a number here; I really matter to my friends, professors and even the administration.”