Rock Island gunshot victim, injured in 2020, now can move hands, shoulders

Local News

Darien Ramsdale was one of six victims in the shooting in Rock Island’s downtown district on Aug. 29, 2020.

After he was hit in the neck by a stray bullet, the 23-year-old couldn’t speak or move, and was told he would never again be able to move from the neck down or breathe without a ventilator.

“As soon as I got hit, I immediately couldn’t breathe,” Ramsdale said. “I did pass away for roughly 5-10 minutes, but I was resuscitated back and I came back to life.”

Now, 14 months later, he can talk, move, and feel parts of his body.

“Inside, like I’m karate chopping right now. You can tell by the way I move my shoulders, but it’s just my arms don’t move,” Ramsdale said.

It hasn’t been an easy fight, but support from family, friends and nurses has kept him going, and kept him motivated.

“Darien is a very special man. We always knew he had it in him to get through this and to come out on the other side of this,” said Traci Mask, respiratory therapy manager at Select Specialty Hospital in Davenport, where Ramsdale has been staying for the past six months.

“He came from essentially not being able to do anything on his own to having what could be a pretty good quality of life for, you know, somebody as young as him,” said Heidi Conner, chief nursing officer at Select Specialty.

“As much as it seems physical, it is very mental, because if you’re in a good mind set you can heal faster,” Ramsdale said. “Once I got in that right mindset, my wounds were healing twice as fast.”

Despite the setbacks, Ramsdale still has a great life ahead of him, and doesn’t plan on slowing down his recovery process until he is able to walk again.

“I can’t be any more thankful for the people I have in my life, and to actually have my life, because I could still live a very good life; even if I may not walk again,” he said. “But I’ll walk again.”

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