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23-Year-Old Refuses to Let Dystonia, Sprained Knee Stop Him from His Dreams

When Jared Brown sprained the MCL in his knee in early 2019, his recovery took on an added sense of urgency.

Jared had plans to walk this summer in the Tri For Inclusion, a Lehigh Valley-area triathlon for children and adults of all abilities.

Not ready to let the knee injury keep him from his lofty goal, the 23-year-old started physical therapy at Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

‘The Mayor’ Returns

Good Shepherd has been a part of Jared’s life since he was young, when he was originally diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 14 months. He’s been a patient to varying degrees through the years, as his diagnosis changed from cerebral palsy to generalized dystonia, which are uncontrollable muscle movements. Jared depends on a wheelchair and also has undergone numerous surgeries related to his condition. Nicknamed “The Mayor,” Jared’s smile and sense of humor are almost as big as his heart.

When Jared first started physical therapy following his MCL sprain, his pain was so intense he couldn’t get into the AlterG® anti-gravity treadmill, which helps users exercise at a reduced body weight. Despite the early setbacks, Jared stayed motivated — just as he did years ago when he walked at his high school graduation ceremony.

“When he puts his mind to something, he’s going to do it,” says Jana Brown, his mother.

Early on in outpatient physical therapy, Jared could walk 20 feet in the gait trainer and barely complete a sit-up. As his strength and balance improved over the course of several months, so, too, did his distance and stamina. He improved to 400 feet. He then stretched that distance to 900 feet. As the triathlon drew closer, he could walk more than 1,000 feet in his gait trainer.

After four months of recovery and training, Jared was ready for the triathlon.

Mission Accomplished

On a sun-drenched Saturday morning, Jared began his journey. With help from teammates, he completed the 75-yard swim and 2-mile bike portions of the triathlon. After being wheeled more than halfway through the final run/walk portion, Jared transitioned to a standing position in his gait trainer. With his father, Jerry, and Good Shepherd physical therapist David Blum, PT, by his side, Jared shook off the early adrenaline rush, kept a steady pace and crossed the finish line on his own two feet.

High-fives and hugs were plentiful as family, friends, Good Shepherd team members, race participants and onlookers all congratulated Jared.

“That was all because of you,” said Jared to David, minutes after the thrilling finish.

“No,” said David to Jared. “That was because of all your hard work.”

For more information about how Good Shepherd Rehabilitation can help you or a loved one recover from an injury, call 1-888-44-REHAB or contact us.