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Client Spotlight: Macy Huff

Macy Huff was a 15-year old sophomore at Ben Davis High School when a tumble at cheerleading practice went terribly wrong.

On April 25, 2013 she was demonstrating a maneuver to a younger student and miscalculated her landing.  She over-rotated, landed on her head, and broke her neck.  The spinal cord injury Macy suffered instantly left her paralyzed from the shoulders down.  In the blink of an eye she was thrust into a new and formidable reality and forced to cope with a new body and a new life.

Macy&Mom_croppedThe mental and the physical toll that spinal cord injuries administer are difficult to overcome.  It is an arduous road of healing, rehabilitating, and learning how to live with a body that has changed in look, feel, and function.  Macy lives on that road.  And she has confronted her struggle with fortitude from day one.

She is considered a c5/6 quadriplegic and does not have much function below her injury level. She lives with significant paralysis in her core, legs, and hands.  Even so, Macy presents much better than most c5 quadriplegics.   Thanks to a unique insurance plan, Macy has been fortunate to take part in regular therapy and strengthening programs ever since her injury.  Most spinal cord injured individuals are forced to leave rehabilitation after a few months.  Unfortunately, many fail to keep up with therapy and exercise once they move home.  Not Macy.   The two years following her injury were spent taking part in weekly outpatient programs to maximize her recovery and strengthen her body.   Additionally, she’s been a regular client at NeuroHope ever since she left traditional therapy in the spring of 2015.  Last year she even experimented with a ReWalk Exoskeleton at the clinic.  You can see her first steps in the device here.

Macy’s hard work and determination over the last three years is evident.  She has fantastic posture and sitting balance.  She is comfortable transferring in and out of her chair.  Her blood pressure issues are a concern of the past.   For someone with a cervical spinal cord injury, those are difficult goals to achieve.

Macy_newsToday, Macy is preparing for college.  But, before she leaves there is another goal on her mind.   She is training three times per week at NeuroHope to take assisted steps across the graduation stage to receive her high school diploma!

CBS 4 visited NeuroHope earlier in the year to detail her daily grind at the clinic.  Watch the video here!

Macy, like all of the clients we are privileged to work with, inspires us!  We are proud to be a part of her journey, and we are eager to see her standing on the Ben Davis stage on June 4th.

Click here to learn how you can help the Huff’s raise money for an adaptable van that she can drive!

 

 

 

 

ReWalk Exoskelton at NeuroHope

It's not everyday that you are able to witness someone's first steps after a life-changing injury, and watch revolutionary technology make it happen.

That is what took place at NeuroHope on May 11th. A video I put together to capture it is posted below.

 

Macy Huff, 17, is one of the fortunate few who has been able to continue therapy programs regularly ever since her C5/6 spinal cord injury in 2013. She came to NeuroHope last month, and she was already in great shape. The determination that Macy has put into her recovery and health over the last two years is remarkable, and it shows.

She doesn't have much function below her injury level, but she has worked hard to maintain her upper body strength, balance, and flexibility. Most individuals injured at C5 have little to no movement below the deltoid muscles in the shoulders. Although there may be some preservation in the biceps, a C5/6 injury typically has significant paralysis in the arms, hands, core, and legs. That means transferring, balancing, and sitting can be a challenge.

Macy_StandWith that in mind, seeing what Macy can accomplish should leave you in awe. Transfers are not a problem. She sits upright easily. Low-blood pressure is a concern of the past. She is even able to spend time in standing with the help of custom braces that are usually not considered for cervical injuries. Because of this, NeuroHope DPT Nora Foster reached out to ReWalk Robotics to see if Macy would be eligible to try their exoskeleton walker. The ReWalk Exoskelton is a cutting-edge assistive device that is making worldwide headlines, and helping spinal cord injured individuals stand, step, and walk. It is a robotic device that is powered at the hips and knees. When a patient is strapped into the device and is able to weight-shift, the robot takes over. Like a scene from a science fiction movie, the hum of the electronics kick in and the robot extends the patient's legs into action.

Don't let the term "robot" fool you. The device is reliant on patient input and ability. A significant amount of core strength and balance is necessary for the person to safely walk. As a result, ReWalk is typically only cleared for paraplegics who have full upper body innervation. Quadriplegics like Macy are rarely considered. So, it was thrilling when ReWalk DPTs Craig Peters and Lina Alsauskaite agreed to come to NeuroHope to provide an evaluation for her.  It is incredible to see the robot in action, and to see Macy taking steps for the first time in two years.

This video puts the "simple" task of walking into perspective. You may take the ability to walk for granted every day of your life.

I hope that changes when you watch the fortitude of an individual doing everything she can to get that ability back.