For many brain injury victims, the injury sustained is life-altering and means a lifetime of recovery. The mental and physical rehabilitation process can be extremely frustrating for brain injury victims as they often must relearn how to perform everyday tasks.
But when his son suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, one San Jose, California, father decided to use his experience as an engineer and cyclist to help with his son's recovery. The crash occurred three years ago and left his son unable to fully control the left side of his body. He also struggles with short term memory and speaking.
Watching his son endure therapy, the father decided to create a tricycle that would be fun for his son to ride but also help speed up his recovery. The trike is a tandem trike, with the front cyclist reclined on his or her back. The father designed the tandem trike this way so that he could pedal with his son, retraining his muscles and helping his brain get used to the motions. It is designed with his son's specific needs in mind and is constantly being adjusted as he grows stronger and regains mobility.
Because brain injury victims have to relearn a lot of movements, the brain must get used to performing the action repeatedly. Physical therapy was one way that this man's son was regaining control of his left arm and leg. But riding the tricycle became a fun challenge for the son as well as time well spent with his family.
In addition to bringing the young man joy, his physical therapists are also noticing the improvements in his physical strength. By pedaling consistently on a trikee that takes his injuries into account, he is building strength, endurance, and even muscle reflexes. The exercise is also helping the young man relearn how to control his breathing to help with his speech.
Source: gizmag.com, "Dad's home-built trike helps son recover from brain injury," Ben Coxworth, 01 June 2011
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