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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way

Megan Melgaard has been working with an amazing boy who suffered a massive brain hemorrhage at the age of 8.

His remarkable story - in and out of the water - is one of courage and a fire within his soul supported by his family and friends.

After young Will Penn experienced a significant brain hemorrhage and stroke, he had immediate craniotomy surgery. The doctors removed part of his skull in an attempt to relieve the pressure on his brain due to the swelling.

His skull that the doctors removed was placed temporarily under his ribs until they replaced it 6½ weeks later with crainoplasty surgery.

After his initial surgery, Will was put into a medically-induced coma for 2 weeks to give him the best chance to heal. After being in intensive care for two weeks, he started rehabilitation to stabilize his brain injury and to begin re-learning all activities of daily life. With hard work and patience, he graduated from a wheel chair to a cane to being able to walk on his own and begin school after several months. With 10 therapy sessions each week, he has begun to regain the physical left side impairment and cognitive functions he lost due to the hemorrhage.

"Will has progressed to throwing a ball and even swimming," said Melgaard his swimming coach. "Will and I have been swimming for several months now, beginning with small movements, range of motion exercises, and walking in the water. We progressed to Toy Soldiers; the pain on Will’s face is an expression of desire to overcome the challenge. We are now completing lap after lap of traditional freestyle. Will can now use both arms and kick to propel him across the pool. It is truly amazing what he has been able to accomplish in such short time."

Those around Will are constantly surprised and inspired by his desire to turn back the clock. He can walk on his own now, but his gait is still uneven. He wants to run more than anything. "I have told him that the first place he will "run," will be in the water. He is an inspiration to all of us, often giving me chills," explains his mother Jennifer. "He chases me and his brother in the water now after our training sessions; becoming more and more agile and comfortable with his movements in and out of the water. His heartfelt joy and courageous effort brings a smile to us all, coming from genuine happiness. His journey has been slow and steady, like the open water race of life, sometimes hitting choppy waters and other times calm, but you forge on towards the prize. The prize in this case, is life."

His mother Jennifer, his physical therapists, and Coach Melgaard continue to work on the dynamo. "His hamstring is getting much stronger, but it is still difficult to fully coordinate. We're working on strengthening his abductor too. His muscle strength is returning to his shoulder and his elbow. He can only move his wrist ever so slightly. All resistance exercises for his arm are great. As he is cleared to do weight bearing exercises, I have a small set of hand paddles that he uses. In the water, Will has used ankle weights as well to encourage him bearing weight in the water on his left leg. All activities that engages both his arms gets his brain working to recover the pathways to the left." Will is a miracle that continues to unfold, both in the water and out.

For more information and updates about Will's recovery, visit here.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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