Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Highlights Aquatic Therapy for Patients with Neurological Conditions

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Highlights Aquatic Therapy for Patients with Neurological Conditions

Middletown, PA – On Friday, October 21, 2011, ABC aired one of the most touching, inspirational Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episodes to date.  Over a period of 168 hours in June 2011, the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition team built Brian Keefer and his family a house perfectly suited to his special need: paralysis from the neck down.  At the heart of the show was a HydroWorx aquatic therapy pool, donated by HydroWorx to ensure Brian could continue his water rehabilitation whenever possible.

Brian Keefer, 23, a patient of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, became a quadriplegic in 2008 after a gymnastics accident.  His dream of walking again will require persistence and isn’t guaranteed; however, it’s not an impossible feat.  Other patients with neurological conditions similar to his have benefited from intensive aquatic therapy; in fact, some have been able to walk either on their own or with supportive devices such as walkers.

At the crux of many of their successes have been the innate benefits of water therapy.  Clinical research has shown that patients with neurological disorders (i.e., spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease) can overcome some or most of their muscle weakness, muscle tone abnormalities, and coordination/gait problems by rehabbing in water.

Warm water aquatic therapy presents numerous advantages, including a sensation of weightlessly that takes up to 90% of gravity’s burden away from the patient.  Brian, who cannot move his arms freely on land, could move them on his own when submerged to above the shoulders.  Thus, as his arms become stronger and stronger, the hope is that he will slowly be able to use them for simple day-to-day activities.

HydroWorx pools, such as the 500 series model highlighted in the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode, have adjustable depth floors and underwater treadmills to assist physical and occupational therapy professionals and their clients.  The innovative design provides incredible adaptability, essential for continuing hydrotherapy success.

Kennedy Krieger has two HydroWorx therapy pools at their Maryland facility.  Every day, their professional team of physical, occupational and aquatic therapists focuses their attentions on helping those with neurological conditions regain movement and function through cutting-edge techniques.

"With our HydroWorx pools, the options are virtually limitless when it comes to developing treatment plans for patients," noted Christy Sachs, Manager, Aquatic Therapy Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute. "We’re able to create completely individualized aquatic therapy sessions because of the flexibility to adjust the water depth, temperature, treadmill speed, and jet output in the pools."
Sachs adds that walking on one’s own is a goal for many spinal cord injury patients, like Brian, but it takes a tremendous effort and, of course, there’s no guarantee.  Working in his favor, though, is the fact that he has been given the best opportunity to regain as much movement as he can.  With a HydroWorx pool at his home, he can rehab frequently.
Anson Flake, CEO and co-founder, HydroWorx, looks forward to tracking Brian’s progress, especially after seeing Brian and his brothers laughing and working out in the therapy pool. 

“Brian’s story was absolutely riveting and inspirational,” noted Flake.  “As our company’s members and their families watched the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode, we cheered for the Keefers’ resiliency, optimism and bond.  We’re thrilled to have been asked by Kennedy Krieger and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to be a part of Brian’s journey.  Like other men and women with neurological conditions who have regained partial or complete control of their limbs through aquatic therapy, Brian may just become a greater inspiration to us all.”

About HydroWorx®
HydroWorx, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania, offers a wide range of underwater treadmill pools, underwater treadmills, and peripheral products and services.  Every day, more than 15000 athletes and patients use HydroWorx technology to recover from injuries and health conditions.
More information about HydroWorx can be found at www.HydroWorx.com.
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