Brain Injury Recovery: one couple’s story

Elena Noble, MPT | March 2012

David takes a walk unassisted in his Rifton Pacer Gait Trainer as he works to recover from an anoxic brain injuryI was privileged to interview David the other day. We conversed by email since his speech is affected. David and his wife Ashley are survivors: their six-week-old son Jayvas died suddenly in 2009; one year later, at a 2010 New Year’s Eve celebration, David had a choking accident resulting in an anoxic brain injury. He was in a coma for a month and a half. Coming out of the coma at a rehab hospital, David was unable to move and had to be transferred with a sling lift. But it was here that he began to walk again, at first with the support of four people. Now he is at home and attends therapy three times a week, walking with help of a therapist and an assistant. David is blind so balance is an ongoing problem. He also has only limited use of his arms and hands which are stiff from muscle tone.

But David is moving towards recovery after his anoxic brain injury. And Ashley wanted him to practice his walking at home as well as in the clinic. She got hold of a Rifton Pacer gait trainer. David tells me the transformation was immediate. He went from “walking not even 100 feet a day with help to walking over two miles in the Pacer without assistance.”

The easy adjustment of the prompts allows anyone to set up the gait trainer and go with David on a walk. David is pleased with his progress and happy that he can walk without assistance. “Now pretty much anyone can take me for a walk. I don’t need to wait for my therapist. I hope to be able to walk again on my own, and the Pacer gait trainer will help me get there.”

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