Rehabilitation Patient Stories

Aquatic Therapy with Jason

by Jennifer Fallert, PTA

It was supposed to be a normal afternoon outing to the park with his family in May 2017. But that changed drastically when Jason Haley went over the front handlebars of his bicycle, fracturing multiple bones in his face and suffering a spinal cord injury that left him without use or feeling from the neck down. After extensive inpatient and outpatient physical therapy Jason was making a miraculous recovery, being able to transfer independently, push himself in his wheelchair, and even walk with the assistance of a walker.

Jason returned to outpatient rehab in November 2017 with physician orders to begin a treatment plan including aquatic therapy. After the evaluation, Jason’s treatment plan consisted of two days per week of one land-based therapy, and one aquatic-based therapy for Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT).

In the beginning, Jason’s 60-minute aquatic treatments were overlapping co-treatments between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. In these treatments, we focused on core strength and stability, base of support, and balance recovery combined with trunk twists, upper extremity movements, and reaching in standing (position). These movements included transitions from squatting and sitting to standing position in waist high water.

With improved stabilization, we began to shift treatments to 30-minute PT, 30-minute co-treatment, and 30-minute OT. The split treatments allowed PT focus on ambulation with the aquatic walker, specifically on leg positioning during the gait cycle, and decreasing upper extremity movement during swing phase. The treatment focus shifted to more dynamic treatments, and simultaneous bilateral upper extremity movements to work on balance recovery and stability. OT has continued to work on upper extremity strengthening and coordination on land and water during trunk control, trunk rotation with reaching, and bilateral upper extremity strengthening.

As ambulation, stabilization, and gait cycle progressed, Jason has been able to ambulate in chest high water without any assistive device with continued focus on foot positioning and reciprocal arm movements. We also have added ambulation backward and lateral sidestepping to improve movements in all planes.

Currently, we have progressed to adding the use of the lazy river to challenge Jason’s strength and stability with ambulation. We have also added ladder climbs for full body strengthening and coordination. We are continually advancing Jason’s treatments based on function with his daily life. Jason would like to be able to lift his wheelchair into the bed of his truck, and drive his truck with hand controls on his own. His ultimate goal is to be walking on his own without an assistive device.

Jason has been able to guide his treatments secondary to his intense motivation and ability to communicate any functional movement deficits.  The water has allowed intense training on balance, strengthening, and ambulation with gravity eliminated to facilitate progress to carry over to land-based therapies. Having gravity eliminated has allowed strengthening in specific positions that Jason was unable to achieve on land in the beginning. Jason continues his treatment plan with a combination of land and aquatic based treatments. Keep up the hard work, Jason!
 

Student Athlete Recovers with Sports Rehabilitation

Brandon Puckett’s future was as bright as the sunshine that lit up the baseball field on the mid-April afternoon. After finishing the high school fall baseball season at St. Anthony High School with a National Trail Conference tournament championship and being named MVP of the tournament, his hopes of leading his team to the postseason were high as they faced their long-standing rivals in Teutopolis. It was not a pitch that would shatter his hopes, but instead it was a hard-hit ball to him as he played the center field position. Even though the catch was successful, he knew something was wrong when he stood up from landing on his side. “I could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong,” said his mother, Jody Puckett. A look of panic and a description of a loud pop sent Brandon immediately to be seen at a local orthopedic clinic.

Brandon was hopeful that it was just a bad bruise. However, an MRI showed a torn labrum was the result of the injury. Jody shared, “Dr. Lee at the Bonutti Clinic performed the labrum repair, two days prior to Brandon’s high school graduation ceremony. I remember the conversation I had with Dr. Lee immediately following his surgery. He stressed that while the surgery was successful, it would be the actual rehabilitation process that would determine his future potential to ever pitch again,” Jody stated.
 
“As a parent, I had promised Brandon that I would do whatever it took to find the rehab services that would give him the best chance of pitching again. I was so pleased to discover that those specialized rehab services were available right here in our community,” she continued. After his initial evaluation, Brandon’s treatment plan was developed by Physical Therapist Jon Frohning, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, who had just recently joined St Anthony’s rehab team, specializing in sports injury.
 
Brandon took every phase of the rehab process in stride. He progressed so well with his range of motion, strength, and stability, it was a tough task to convince him to “slow down” and not rush his return to play. He was very excited to begin throwing for the first time after his surgery.
 
Jon has kept in constant contact with Brandon, providing continued oversight of his training. That attention and effort has paid off as Brandon returned to the pitching mound for Lake Land College on Sunday, February 25, 2018.
 
Check out this web site for more information about Sports Rehabilitation or any of the many other therapy services offered by HSHS St. Anthony’s Physical Rehabilitation and Wellness.  You can also contact Tammy Probst, Director of Rehabilitation Services & Wellness, at (217) 347-3563 or email Tammy.Probst@hshs.org.