Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Helps Ex-Marine Recover from Spinal Cord Injury
Kenneth Keitt has chosen not to look back on the automobile accident that changed his life. Rather, Kenny (as he is known to family and friends) has chosen to focus on his future – a future that looks brighter every day thanks to his determination and the therapy he receives at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation.
Upon graduating from high school, Kenny enlisted in the Marines, but after 9 months, including a tour of duty in Iraq, he decided military life wasn’t for him. He enrolled at Northampton Community College and began to pursue his business degree.
Shortly after starting school, Kenny was involved in a terrible automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He doesn’t remember much about the accident, only that he was ejected from the vehicle and was airlifted to an acute-care hospital. After two months, he was transferred to a rehabilitation facility.
Unfortunately, Kenny was frustrated with the lack of progress he was making at the rehab facility.
“I’m a military guy, and I wanted to be challenged,” says Kenny. “My goal was to recover, but I wasn’t being pushed the way I needed to be. I knew there had to be something better out there.”
Determined to overcome the challenge of his paralysis, Kenny did a lot of research and found Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.
“From my first visit, I knew I found something special. There is a real family atmosphere at Good Shepherd, and I was challenged to give 110 percent to get better again.”
Kenny’s therapists at Good Shepherd designed a comprehensive program for him, consisting of physical therapy, aquatic therapy and gait training with the Ekso exoskeleton. The Ekso is a wearable bionic suit that allows individuals with lower extremity weakness to stand up and walk with a natural gait. Walking is achieved by the user's weight shifting and activating sensors in the device, which initiate steps. Battery-powered motors drive the legs.
With the Ekso and intense, repetitive work overseen by specially trained therapists, some spinal cord injury patients who were unable to walk or have difficulty walking are making incredible progress in re-awakening their brains’ signals to their spine and legs.
There’s no doubt in Kenny’s mind that the Ekso therapy has been a game changer for him.
“The first time I stood and walked in the Ekso was an incredible feeling,” says Kenny. “It’s hard to describe the emotion. I was walking again. It has changed my life.”
Kenny comes for Ekso therapy twice a week, logging more than 1,000 steps some days. He says it’s been hard work, but it has been worthwhile. Not only is he back in school now, but he is able to drive - thanks to Good Shepherd’s Adaptive Driving Program that outfitted his car with special hand controls.
Kenny says any spinal cord injury patient who wants to get better should insist on Good Shepherd Rehabilitation.
“There are so many therapies available here for spinal cord patients,” he says. “I’m always pushed to do my best.”