One evening in May of 2017, at home in rural Warwick, N.Y., guitarist Frank Vignola, then 51, made a fateful decision: to go out for a quick pre-dinner spin in the all-terrain vehicle parked in his half-acre backyard. It was something he’d done many times in the past, usually with one or more of his four sons, but this time—luckily, as it turned out—he was on his own. Somehow the ATV went into a skid and hit a tree. The impact was so forceful that it threw Vignola into the air. He blacked out.
“When I woke up,” he recalls on the phone nine months later, “there were a zillion people over me, including my family, saying, ‘Don’t go back to sleep.’ They put me in a helicopter and brought me to St. Joseph’s hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. And thank God they did. My right shoulder was broken in two places, along with my right arm and four ribs, and both of my lungs had collapsed.”