Marla Grant has always been active and never gave it a second thought that all of her basic abilities could be stripped from her. But it happened in August 2012, when she fell on a slick kitchen floor. The result of the fall left her with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Of the 1.7 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States, many will find major changes and some people will find it difficult to recover. While most everyone benefits from rehabilitation following a brain injury, the specific type of rehabilitation depends on the particular region of brain assault and will dictate specific physical, mental, emotional limitations.
Grant was left with severe limitations. Because the area of Grant’s brain injury was centered in the region responsible for balance, she had trouble just sitting up straight. She needed help with ambulation and could only walk 15 feet with two therapists giving her moderate assistance.
Each brain injury is different and unique. Grant’s diagnosis of bilateral subdural hematoma, which is basically bruising and bleeding into the space between the brain cover (dura mater) and the brain itself, ruptured her brain blood vessels and left a clot formation called a hematoma. The area of her brain injury decreased her coordination, movement, muscle tone and left her with an unsteady gait.
The challenge in therapy is finding the correct therapeutic methods and technology to provide maximum potential. Many would say that the greatest denominator of success comes from the patient themselves. Grant was undaunted and began her recovery at Orchard Park Health Care Center with specialized therapy and equipment under the direction of Amanda Court, doctorate of physical therapy. She reports using the AlterG, a gravity eliminated treadmill, whereby the patient’s lower torso is encircled in a chamber that uses differential air pressure to decrease gravity. Body weight can be subtracted in increments up to 80%. The effects are much like walking in water and the technology was initially developed by NASA for astronauts in order to prepare them to walk on the moon. Court reports that the treadmill made it easier for Grant to move and re-train the muscles of her legs.
Grant knew that she’d have to fight to get back the life that she knew. For eight weeks, she endured the rigors of outpatient therapy in order to find her center of balance. Orchard Park Health Center again used the latest technology to restore her righting abilities. It’s a computerized and evidence-based device called the Biosway from Biodex Company. Grant initially did not know how to find her balance but the latest balance technology is inter-active and gives instant feed-back to quickly restore the brain’s relearning power and function. The device allows patients to learn new balance strategies while standing on an inter-active platform. The platform senses and records every movement that the patient makes when prompted from the computer monitor. The brain learns from this device via the eyes viewing the monitor, which gives them instant feed-back to help teach them how to correct their instability.
Grant reports that every week her balance scored by the Biosway machine was improving and she says that seeing her continued improvements renewed her spirit and motivation. This enthusiasm earned her enough strength and balance to walk all over downtown Denver without assistance and she is grateful for a holiday season that that has her celebrating her newfound abilities. “If I can motivate just one person to move forward, I’ll be happy,” says Grant.
“Grant's success was due to a combination of her hard work, dedication, and access to state of the art equipment,” says Court.
Orchard Park Rehabilitation Center offers comprehensive rehabilitative outpatient and inpatient services for short or long term care. They can be located at 6005 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80121. Call 303-773-1000 for more information or to schedule a private tour.