Parkinson's Disease Stories

Father Dimitirie's Story

Jan 10, 2020

Father Dimitirie's Spinal Cord Story

Father VIncentFather Dimitrie fell in the love with the game of hockey as a little boy. His passion for the sport carried over into adulthood; he played defense in an over-60 hockey league. However, on November 25, 2017, the beloved parish priest at St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Farmington Hills, sustained a devastating spinal injury.

“I got pushed into and held on the boards head first, and my neck broke," Father Dimitrie said. "I was completely numb from the head down. I couldn't feel anything but the bottom of my feet."

After surgery, Father Dimitrie arrived at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).

"When I came in, I was completely unable to do anything for myself," he said. "I couldn’t care for myself. I couldn’t feed myself and I couldn’t dress myself. It was humbling.”

Father Dimitrie completed months of rehab at RIM relearning to walk, use his hands and restore his independence. He continues to work-out with a trainer weekly at the DMC’s Fitness Center.

And just like the title of the infamous hockey movie, “Miracle on Ice,” eight months after his injury, Father Dimitrie shocked his teammates when he joined them on the ice for a warm-up skate. However, he admits he’s not ready to risk playing again.

He says his Christian faith has been empowered and strengthened, spiritually, mentally and emotionally by the care and compassion of all those around him.

It’s been a long road to recovery, and he credits his progress to the RIM staff, calling them his team of angels.

"It’s a resurrection," Father Dimitrie said. "Truly, I’m very grateful."  

RIM has more than 30 outpatient rehabilitation clinics throughout southeast Michigan.
To find a location near you, visit