Rob Partridge can hardly believe the growth and improvement.

It’s not just the improvements the former Massillon Tigers quarterback has made in the three years since May 21, 2018. Back then, his life was completely changed by a car accident in Bloomington, Indiana that paralyzed him from the neck down.

No, it’s just the growth he’s been through in the last year or so that amazes Partridge when the three-year anniversary of the accident arrives.

“Oh my god, it was great,” Partridge said from his Altamonte Springs, Florida apartment this week to things I can and can’t. I just have a much more positive outlook on life. “

Partridge was not always here in the course of his recovery. After the accident, he moved to several locations during his recovery before eventually ending up for a stretch at the Barwis Performance Center in Florida.

More from May 2020: Team Rob ‘: Former Massillon Tigers QB Robert Partridge finds support

During this time, Partridge admitted he was in a low place, especially when he had to leave Florida for some time and return to Massillon in the fall of 2019. This step was just as necessary as the rising costs of continuing his rehab in Florida, where he used the Barwis Performance Center.

That was when a group of friends and acquaintances got involved and formed what was known as “Team Rob” to help Partridge. They created a GoFundMe page and told everyone they knew about their story and goals.

As of this week, this GoFundMe page has raised nearly $ 18,000 from its $ 100,000 goal. The site was created on March 11th, 2020 and has seen the largest increase in donations in the past 12 months.

“Without these donors and donations, none of this could have happened,” said Laurie Moline, who creates Stand Up for Rob and runs MentorStark. “Because when we talk about ‘Team Rob’ it was really a team experience … There were times when we weren’t sure if he could stay down there (in Florida) but because of that generosity we could donate . ”

This money provides Partridge with many things he needs to not only continue his recovery, but also to live his life. Expenses included an adjustable bed in his apartment and a scooter to help him get around, as well as paying for any care he may need.

Through this rehab he has noticed a consistent improvement in his own physical condition. A year ago Partridge was able to “move my arms, move my upper body, and move parts of my legs”.

Now?

“I would say I have a lot more opportunities to stabilize,” said Partridge. “I can really focus on my core. Last year around this time I didn’t really have a lot of control over my core. Now I can control my core, get up for a long time and when I do I get up in rehab and can do a lot more, when my upper body deals with my lower body because my core is much more activated and stable. “

Something else helped stabilize Partridge from his own physical recovery. That was the addition of a roommate, Jake Capra, in April.

Capra isn’t just any roommate either. He is someone who can relate to Partridge’s experiences even if he is not paralyzed himself.

That’s because Capra’s uncle, Tommy Dennett, is a close friend and mentor of Partridge. Dennett is also a quadriplegic.

“My uncle just said, ‘Hey, you should move in with Rob,'” said Capra. “I said, ‘OK. Sure.’ … He’s a cool guy. He’s very positive. Not everyone is like that. He’s easy-going. Some of the other patients can be stubborn, but not Rob. “

Although the two have only lived together for about two months, the bond has developed quickly. Apart from the fact that they can only talk to someone, the two of them go out to eat regularly or just grill on the terrace of the apartment.

Most of all, Partridge appreciates the way Capra has helped him move even further along the path to recovery.

“Jake has been a great help and a great friend to me,” said Partridge. “It was great to have him as part of this journey. He understands what it is like and what’s behind it, so he helped me prepare to start work. He helped me prepare for training, and I’ve just started aquatherapy. It was definitely huge in my day. “

Partridge’s days get busier. On June 1, he will be working out of Florida as a mentor for Moline’s MentorStark program, which he has wanted to do for a while.

He’s also starting a podcast called Daily Defying Odds. His plan is to talk to people about their own stories dealing with neurological injuries or life changing conditions.

For Partridge, this communication piece is just as important to his own recovery.

“Communication is everything,” said Partridge. “Just being able to communicate, one thing I am experiencing and, secondly, what the other person is experiencing, whether that is my therapist, my doctor, friends or colleagues, the communication was great. Being able to communicate with Communicating to people where I started on May 21, 2018, where I am today is huge. “

As big as the improvements Partridge believes he has recovered from during this time. Or really only since May 21, 2020.

Reach Chris at chris.easterling@indeonline.com.

On twitter: @ceasterlingINDE

Rob Partridge is preparing for rehab training in Florida in 2020.