Officer Sammy Worsham’s amazing recovery

Last Aug. 7 we got a radio call of an accident in the 6000 block of Roswell Road. Seconds later, the call was upgraded to an accident involving a motorcycle and injuries involved.

Seconds after that, radio said witnesses on the scene said it was a police motorcycle and it appeared very serious.

The helmet that saved the motorcycle cop's life. (ajc photo)

The motorcycle cop's helmet saved his life in the crash last August (ajc photo). Click the photo to see more scenes from Sammy's long recovery.

The response, of course, was intense. Sam Worsham, riding a police Harley and on the way to a call for assistance, was hit by a car exiting a restaurant onto Roswell Road. Sammy hit the car, went flying across the car some 15 or so feet, then landed on the asphalt — hard.

Just about everything on his right side was broken. His femur was broken so bad that his foot was lying next to his head. His shoulder was broken, his elbow was broken, about 10 toes were broken — and that’s not the whole list, just the parts I remember. Fortunately, his head didn’t break because the helmet took the hit on the asphalt as he slid to a stop.

Roswell Road looked like a plane had crashed. We had to move police cars to get other police cars out of the way. And once the paramedics had Sammy in the ambulance, a large caravan headed south on GA 400 to Grady. I followed behind everyone since I would have to make the initial press statements.

I saw Sammy on the ground. People who are in such pain have a distorted look about them. People about to die have that look.
I thought he was going to die.

Sammy didn’t die. Instead, Sammy got married. He married his lovely fiancé, Marie Kennedy, Sunday in Roswell and they left the next day for the honeymoon.

Sammy went through a 12-month rehab program in 11 months, just to show the doctors that he could. If you have endured orthopedic rehab, you know it’s painful. No cheating. The pain is part of the rehab.

I’m sure those 11 months have gone by much slower for Sammy and his family than it has for us, but he hasn’t complained. When you saw him during the past year, he was headed to rehab or the gym. At first he was on crutches, then on his feet with a very pronounced limp. As the weeks went by, the limp decreased little by little until now you have to look for it.

We’re all happy for Sammy and his family. They spent their time in hell, too.

I am amazed at how the body will heal. I’m amazed at how smart doctors can do that thing they do with the human body. I’m amazed at how a rehab therapist will whip you back into shape — like it or not. (If you’ve ever tried to argue with them during therapy, you know what I mean.)

I’m also amazed at how smart people can design helmets that can withstand an impact such as Sammy’s and, although they look crumpled and scraped up in the end, they save the wearer’s life.
I’m also amazed at the idiots who don’t want to wear them.


I would think that even the best of no-helmet advocates would want to go home after the accident.

5 comments Add your comment


July 14th, 2009
2:10 pm

Many folks spend a great deal of time complaining about those who are sorely underpaid to serve and protect, and it is stories like yours today that will hopefully make people realize the danger that you and your fellow officers face each day to provide that protection. I always enjoy your wide range of topics here, and spend very little time reading the readers’ comments, since they tend to rant and rave on about nothing important. I cringe every time I hear of how much money athletes are receiving, wishing that our police, fire, rescue, nurses and teachers were better paid for all that they do.


July 15th, 2009
11:34 am

Thanks BigJake.


July 15th, 2009
12:44 pm

Big Jake couldn’t have said it better. Good luck Sammy and get back to work soon.


July 16th, 2009
8:01 am

It is a long row to hoe recovering from this type of accident. A much shorter row now than it was when I did it in 1975. Back then, the ER Dr’s first reaction was a desire to just cut the leg off and try to fix the rest. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed. I still carry the scars both mental and physical. Sadly, the severely damaged full face helmet was discarded and not mounted on a plaque as a reminder. Nevertheless, this is one two-wheeler that won’t even start the bike until his AND his rider’s helmets are strapped on.

I am a libertarian and believe strongly in personal liberties, in particular those of consenting adults. But until there is a method of providing, at the expense of that consenting adult, for all those who have to face the lasting consequences of the person who “chooses” not to wear a helmet, strap it on and STFU or take the bus.


July 21st, 2009
2:37 pm

Sammy we are all proud of you. Those of us that have been by your side since you became a police officer knew that you would be back before expected. There are few Police Officers than can match your professionalism and determination, SSPD is lucky to have a person of your caliber working in their Traffic Unit. Good luck my friend and “congrats” on getting married. Be safe and Take care. Your Friend