Grad Overcomes Accident, Performs With BJO

Just eight months ago, Dusty Higgins was struggling to stay alive. Crippled by injuries suffered in an automobile accident, the noted musician’s career plans were in doubt.

Higgins, a 2002 Oklahoma Baptist University music education graduate, will appear in concert with the Bison Jazz Orchestra Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m., in Shawnee’s Ritz Theater.

The concert is one of a growing number of signs that Higgins is making a remarkable recovery. He wasn’t given much promise of a full recovery in August. Over a period of six months, he experienced 19 surgeries to repair multiple fractured bones in his body. Most of the surgeries occurred while he was in a 45-day coma.

While progress was made after the surgeries, doctors told the trombone player that chances were slim for him to regain full use of his right arm.

“An arm specialist told me that I would never bend my right arm beyond a 90-degree angle,” he said. “But after going through physical therapy three times a week for three months, I’ve regained full motion in my arm. It’s not moving perfectly, but I am able to play comfortably.”

Higgins is now a high school band director in Walters, Okla. This summer he is planning to play in an orchestra for a Christian camp in Spector, N.Y.

“Having Dusty in the group has been a real treat,” said Kevin Pruiett, OBU assistant professor of music and director of the Bison Jazz Orchestra. “The talent and professionalism that he brings has been a wonderful boost to the members of the Bison Jazz Orchestra. Aside from this, Dusty is a wonderful young man who has gone through a lot over the past months. He has been a true inspiration to the members of the ensemble, as well as to me.”

The May 5 concert is free and open to the public. The Ritz Theatre is located at 10 West Main in downtown Shawnee.