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“The person I am now is a stronger person”: A dramatic story of successful stroke recovery.

By Imago Rehab, as featured on LinkedIn
3 minutes

“This is going to be one hell of a story”

Last winter, college hockey player Jack Smiley took what was probably his millionth hit from another player on the ice one afternoon in practice. But at that moment, his entire life changed. A blood clot formed in his brain after that incident and he had a significant stroke, paralyzing the entire right side of his body, affecting his speech, swallow, and ability to think clearly. The hard work of stroke recovery began the very next day in the ICU.

After one month of intensive inpatient rehabilitation and another month of outpatient care, his speech, ability to eat and drink foods, and walk had all improved significantly. Just like up to 80% of stroke survivors, Jack still had a hand that was not working. He had tried electrical stimulation, weight bearing, even literally willing his hand to work and so far, nothing had made his hand respond.

At the request of Jack’s neurologist, he started with Imago Rehab occupational therapists. Our #lifeistherapy approach was just the ticket to stimulate his hand to work again. Jack started using his right hand for every task possible, tracking his progress and efforts to motivate himself to continue. He also completed an experimental protocol receiving high repetition home-based movement therapy using our prototype medical device, getting an extra 4,000 repetitions of goal-directed hand movement in just under 2 months. (No claims are being made about the efficacy of this device). He began to experience more movement, catching a ball, tying his shoes, and picking up a cup. His hand was working again!

“Majority Positive Thoughts”

Now, over one year post stroke, Jack is preparing to return to college after successfully completing online and in-person courses in his hometown. He works out daily, starting at 5am, and is making incredible gains in his abilities over a wide range of skills. Comparing his accomplishments to his pre-stroke self, Jack says “I have more pride in the things I can do now.” He has worked so hard to be where he is today and recognizes the massive amount of effort he’s put in to achieve his goals. From his hospital room, he promised his father he would have “majority positive thoughts” about his stroke recovery.

“Every stroke is different; you get out of it what you put in”

Jack laughs and says “stroke recovery is a 24 hour a day job,” commenting on even how he is feeding his body and then getting enough sleep at night…he is always thinking about his recovery. Stroke recovery IS NOT PASSIVE! You will get out of it what you put into it. Keep working every day on your arm and hand post stroke. The little tasks you do with your arm and hand, like steadying a container to open it with your other hand, or placing your hand down on the counter to sign your name on a receipt, those movements are like dollars in the bank. Once you add them all up, you’ll be able to make a withdrawal!

To watch the full conversation with Jack Smiley, see the Zoom recording below AND be sure to follow him on TikTok or Instagram for day in the life posts and his musings on stroke recovery.

As always, if you are interested in how Imago Rehab could help maximize your arm function post stroke, give us a call or click today. Our intake coordinators are ready to take your call and get you scheduled with our amazing team. Call 617-671-0789 and visit www.imagorehab.com TODAY! Our therapists are licensed in Virginia and Massachusetts, and we are coming soon to more states.

Get your body working again.

Simply complete our online request form and one of our intake coordinators will contact you within one business day.