Working her way back
The afternoon of Nov. 19, 2012 was one that could have been tragic for 23-year-old Kourtni Lind.
Lind, a Wyoming native currently living in New York who is known locally and on the national stage for her prowess in dance—she’s in the Broadway production of “Spiderman” and made it to the final rounds of the television show “So You Think You Can Dance” in season 4—had just come out of a dance audition that day.
She said she felt great about how the audition went, and was talking on her cell phone with her agent around 5 p.m.
She stopped at 8th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, and waited for the walk signal at 42nd Street.
The signal changed from red to green, Kourtni checked the traffic, and then proceeded to cross the street.
A motorist driving an SUV, apparently trying to get through the intersection after the light turned red, didn’t slow down or see Kourtni.
She had just enough time to see the SUV wasn’t going to stop, and tried to run.
Kourtni wasn’t quick enough.
The SUV struck her at about 50 mph, according to her mother, Robin Lind.
Kourtni was flung into a stopped vehicle, hitting her left side and head on the car.
She was knocked unconscious by the impact.
When she awoke, pedestrians who had gathered around her told her to stay still, an ambulance was on the way.
Although shaken and injured, Kourtni was able to grab her phone, which was lying in the road next to her.
From the ambulance, she called her mom.
‘I just started crying’
Robin was teaching at Dance Tech Studios the day of the accident—she owns another studio in Pine City—when she got the call from Kourtni.
“She sometimes calls when I’m teaching and I never answer,” Robin said. “I just let it go to voicemail, and then I call her back.”
This time, however, something in her gut told her to pick up the phone.
“My phone rang and I told my assistant, ‘I just feel I’m supposed to get this.’”
During the brief conversation, Kourtni told her mom, “Mom, I’m OK, but I just wanted to let you know I was hit by a car.”
That sentence was too much for Robin to stomach.
“I just started crying,” she said.
Impromptu trip to New York
Kourtni’s immediate family—Robin, her husband Michael and older sister Mykala—all wanted to travel to New York to help Kourtni while she was in the hospital, but Robin was the only one who could get away from work and other commitments in Minnesota for an extended period of time.
“I was on a plane within an hour and a half (of the accident),” Robin said.
When Robin arrived at the Manhattan hospital where Kourtni was admitted, it was overrun with patients following hurricane Sandy.
“The hospital out there at the time was the only one in Manhattan that was open because of the hurricane,” she said. “It felt like I was in a movie or a war zone. The hallways were lined with people in beds or in chairs with IVs. Doctors were treating them. She’d get scheduled for an MRI, and it would take five or six hours for her to get in because things were so backed up. It was unreal.”
Kourtni’s injuries were fairly extensive.
She had fractured vertebra in her back, her left knee had sustained a fracture, she had broken her nose and her head had a sizeable contusion due to hitting it off the stopped car.
‘Terrifying for a dancer’
For the first few days in the hospital, Kourtni could not walk.
“As a dancer, it was terrifying to be in a hospital bed and not be able to make my leg muscles fire,” she said. “I thought to myself, ‘What am I going to do if I can’t dance?’”
Kourtni didn’t have to dwell on that thought for long.
After that first week, her body began to show signs of improvement, and she was able to walk again, albeit gingerly at first.
Her mom was right there, by her side, to help her along in this crucial phase of her recovery, as were her friends and fellow performers from “Spiderman.”
Once Kourtni was out of the hospital after six days, Robin returned home.
She said she would have liked it if her daughter had come back to Minnesota to do physical therapy for her injuries, but she said Kourtni had been working with excellent physical therapists in New York who had treated her for injuries she sustained on the set of “Spiderman.”
Kourtni felt her recovery time would be quicker if she continued to work with those therapists.
Just 35 days after the accident, Kourtni was back on stage for the Christmas Eve “Spiderman” show.
She, doctors and her mother are all amazed at how quickly she has recovered.
Kourtni is doing about eight shows a week now, and she recently landed a job with Sonya Tayeh, a well-known choreographer who has been a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“I’m kind of amazed all the time, because my body is doing really well,” she said.
She added doctors told her that the muscles she had built through years of dance and training likely helped absorb some of the impact of the accident, aiding her in avoiding more serious injuries.
Kourtni is still going to physical therapy a few times a week for her injuries, but she expects to make a full recovery.
“The doctors said there should have been just so much more wrong with her,” Robin said. “We just believe it’s been a miracle after a miracle.”