As tragic as it was, a car accident in high school determined Allen Keener’s path in life. After being hospitalized for a month with multiple surgeries, Keener had extensive rehabilitation during his recovery. It was during that time, he discovered occupational therapy.
“Occupational Therapy seemed to focus on all the things that I wanted to be able to return to doing in my life,” said Keener. “Regaining my ability to live my life made me want to be able to do the same for others.”
Even though he knew he wanted to be an OT since that accident at 17, getting there was not easy. And some might say he took the unconventional route.
“I took a five year detour as an elementary school teacher,” said Keener. “I feel that has helped me be an even better OT because it allowed me to better learn how to meet the needs of others by starting at their level and looking extensively at obstacles/limitations that have to be addressed in order to achieve optimal success.”
Keener received his Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2007 and earned his graduate certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation in 2008. He currently works as an OT at Spain Rehabilitation Center and Alacare Home Health and Hospice. He has served on leadership committees at other jobs and has held a leadership position with the Alabama Occupational Therapy Association since 2008. Keener believes taking on leadership positions are important especially to current students.
“Take a chance and sign up for the leadership position that seems scary, as it will prove to be valuable experience later,” said Keener. “Be open-minded to all the future possibilities and learn as much as you are able. You never know what may change in your life in the next five, ten, or fifteen years, and those experiences may make you more desirable to an employer, give you a unique perspective and contribution to your work, and make you a better and stronger person.”
Keener should know from personal experience how a terrible accident changed the course of his life forever.