Power To The Paralyzed

September 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
For patients with paralyzing spinal cord injuries, sometimes it takes more than medicine and physical therapy to help get them on the road to recovery. At one facility that focuses on rehabilitating those patients, technology plays a huge role in turning disability into ability.Rehabilitation technologist at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., Kevin Grogg makes changes that change lives. It's all about adapting simple things we take for granted like switching on a light, a fan, or even the TV.

"The patient would put their mouth on this end and be able to manipulate specific objects the way we might touch them with our hands," Grogg described to Ivanhoe.

Giving back control for those who have lost use of their limbs.

"Giving our patients some level of control back when it might seem like all control has been lost post-injury, as compared to their pre-injury state," Grogg said.

In December, Marine Corporal Jerold Mason was paralyzed in a car crash. Fellow marines send good wishes. Thoughts of his son and regular visits from his dad help Mason stay positive. But it took Grogg's ingenuity to give Mason the one thing that helps him when nothing else works ? his music

"It like takes you away from the stress," Mason told Ivanhoe. "I will always use music to do that."

Grogg adapted Mason's touch screen iPod. Now, Mason can control it with a straw ? no help needed. This one small step is inspiring Mason to work harder for the bigger ones ahead.

"Allows me to think of times when I did have the use of my arms, my legs and you know it makes me want to push harder," Mason said.

"Matter of fact, one of the songs that we adapted was Curtis Mayfield 'Movin' On Up,' and every day we move a little higher," Mason's father told Ivanhoe.

The average age of the spinal cord and other traumatic injury patients at Shepherd Center is 30. It's too soon to know how much movement Mason will regain, but he's working hard in rehab, getting stronger every day.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Shepherd Center
www.shepherd.org
(404) 352-2020
Ask for the Assistive Technology Center


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