May 17, 2007
By Tom Bosco
An Ohio University student is out of the hospital and back on campus after being hit by an Athens County recycling truck back in March. Misato Kawamura of Kasugai, Japan, was released Wednesday from O'Bleness Memorial Hospital.
An Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District truck hit Kawamura on March 30 as it was backing up a service drive between Ellis Hall and Alden Library. She suffered fractures in her leg and pelvic bone.
Kawamura is among students from Chubu University in Japan who are studying English through the university's Ohio Program of Intensive English, and she will resume her studies, said OPIE Director Gerry Krzic. Kawamura ultimately wants to be an English teacher, he said.
After a rehabilitation period, Kawamura is able to walk using a walker for short distances. Ohio University will coordinate transportation for her as she continues to recover. She still faces more physical therapy, but Krzic said Kawamura remains optimistic.
"She's working really hard to get better, and her attitude is good, and that's really positive," he said.
Kawamura's parents traveled from Japan to Athens to be with their daughter from April 29 through May 3. While they were here, OPIE hosted a reception attended by President Roderick J. McDavis, Dean of Students Terry Hogan and other university staff and students.
"It was heartening to meet with Misato's parents and to see how supportive they are of Misato's decision to continue at Ohio University," Hogan said. "They have made many friends here."
The students from Chubu are to be in Athens through the middle of summer. Kawamura plans to return to Japan with them at the end of July despite not being able to have the full study-abroad experience.
"She came for a 17-week program and lost half of it in the hospital," said Krzic.
The International Student Union has been collecting donations at Baker University Center to help with Kawamura's medical expenses. Krzic said Kawamura is touched by their efforts. Krzic also had kind words for the staff of O'Bleness Hospital, where Kawamura spent weeks in rehabilitation.
"(O'Bleness Health System President) Richard Castrop was very welcoming, and the staff on the third floor surgery unit and social workers were very supportive," he said.
The Ohio University community rallied around Kawamura. Joung Hee Krzic, a counselor for OPIE and a Japanese instructor, spent hours with her, translating in the hospital. The Japanese Student Association, the International Student Union and other students have visited her and been ready with help whenever she needs, Gerry Krzic said.
The driver of the truck, Michael Gilbraith of New Marshfield, was found guilty in Athens Municipal Court of backing without caution, a misdemeanor. He was fined $99.