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Erie native Sean, 44, was setting up a tree stand on his land when he fell nearly 12 feet, breaking his neck.
After being taken to the closest trauma center — UPMC Hamot — Sean had six-hour surgery. Surgeons implanted a cage inside his neck to stabilize his spine.
After five weeks at UPMC Hamot, Sean transferred to a local skilled nursing and inpatient rehab center to regain mobility.
He worked on strength-building techniques, but the staff felt he needed more intense therapy to regain movement in his arms. They advised he move to a rehab-intensive inpatient facility.
Family friends suggested the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC Mercy to Sean and his wife, Lynnette.
“People told me that I would probably not walk again. But at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, I was able to work on strengthening my neck, arms, shoulders, and core. I was having a lot of pain in my shoulders, and they attacked it very well.”
After completing six weeks of therapy at UPMC Mercy, Sean continues to use some of the therapies at home.
He also sees a physical therapist and an occupational therapist at home for a total of four hours each week.
“I’m not where I was before I fell, but my shoulders and core are getting stronger. I even bought some of my own exercise equipment,” Sean says.
Sean uses a sip-n-puff power wheelchair — controlled by air pressure from inhaling and exhaling — to get around. He also is seeing increased mobility in his arms.
“The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute was where I needed to be at that time to get back some movement. The therapy team did a wonderful job. I’m glad we chose UPMC Mercy,” he says.
To find out more about our services, contact the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.
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