Making the Long Journey Back
After his surgery, Dale was in a coma for a week. Another week or so after regaining consciousness, he began the long and challenging journey toward recovery. He needed to regain his ability to speak, move and think at pre-injury-like levels. To do this, he was going to need help of an array of experts. His care was led by Nemours rehabilitative medicine physicians, including Maura McManus, MD, chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Rehabilitation Medicine). Dale’s team also included specially trained speech, physical and occupational therapists.
Dale remained an inpatient for two months; his therapy continued on an outpatient basis for another four months. He worked hard in the rehab gym, often with physical therapist Heather Gonzalez, DPT, CBIS (Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Brain Injury Specialist).
“Dale made my job easy,” says Gonzalez, “because he was such a motivated and active participant in his recovery. It was exciting to see how quickly he progressed as a result of his cheerful dedication. He did anything I asked of him, and he did it with a big smile on his face.
One interesting therapeutic technique the care team used involved an interactive metronome. Dale held a sensor in one hand and had to clap it with his other hand as soon as he heard the sound. This helped to improve his reflexes and reaction time.
Through it all, Dale made great strides. He recovered much of the ground he’d lost, and returned to the activities he loved, including the high school drum line. He even played baseball again just one year after his initial team tryout.