Spinal Cord Injury
James King was in a motorcycle accident the day after Christmas and suffered a cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). After spending 13 days in the hospital and undergoing surgery to stabilize his spine, James was ready for the next phase of his recovery. He chose the specialized SCI program at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Dallas (BSWIR – Dallas) with the goal of returning to his wife, Megan, and their two young children as soon as possible.
Upon arrival, James could barely move, even requiring help to sit up in bed. He also needed maximum assistance to eat, get dressed and complete basic self-care activities.
For a 29-year-old who was young and healthy just a couple weeks prior, this was a difficult and frustrating situation to endure, but James was up for the task. On his very first day of he told his physical therapist, “I want to work as hard as I can to get better,” and that is exactly what he did.
In his physical therapy sessions, James started with the basics of getting out of bed and getting into his wheelchair. Through specialized techniques and repetitive exercise, James quickly started to show progress. He even started to propel his manual wheelchair on his own. James’ physical therapist then incorporated advanced technology such as the Exoskeleton walking device and a body weight supported treadmill system to help James reach his goals.
James showed an incredible work ethic from the start and overcame many challenges during his inpatient rehabilitation stay. His occupational therapist fabricated a specialized splint to help James regain hand function and challenged him to complete a series of progressively difficult workouts. Advanced technology was also utilized to address James’ weak muscles which helped regain strength and function. Collectively, these approaches led to James reclaim full independence with all of his self-care tasks.
In recreational therapy, James was able to begin doing things he enjoyed again. James started in a wheelchair, using adaptive aids to help grip items like a pencil or paintbrush. Then, he progressed to doing high level balance activities such as playing the Wii while stabilizing with just a walker. Eventually, James didn’t need any adaptive equipment to accomplish these activities. As it turned out, James previously painted as a hobby so was motivated to be back at it again. One of the pieces he did while in the hospital he saved to gift to his wife upon returning home.
James’ hard work and dedication, combined with his intensive therapy program, paid off. After six weeks at BSWIR – Dallas, he was ready to go home to his family. Not only had he said goodbye to his wheelchair, but he was also starting to jog again. James inspired everyone around him and brought a spark to the therapy gym. His therapists, nurses, doctors, and fellow patients were all amazed and inspired by what he accomplished.