On April 7, 2012 Justin Farley was celebrating the Easter holiday with his family at his grandparent's house. While his younger cousins were searching for Easter eggs, Justin decided to climb the large Oak tree in his grandparent's yard. Being an active, adventurous 13 year old, Justin had climbed the tree hundreds of times over the years, so he was confident to climb without concern. As Justin made his way through the branches, he tried to advance to the next level in the tree. As he was swinging his legs up, the branch he was holding onto snapped and he fell. A branch underneath of him caught his legs as he fell and spun him so that he landed on his left shoulder and neck rather than his feet. When Justin landed he realized that he was unable to move his legs and was only able to shrug his shoulders. Upon arrival at the hospital, he was told that he had fractured his neck and damaged his spinal cord. In an effort to limit the amount of swelling and damage to the spinal cord, Justin was placed in an induced coma and his body was cooled to 93 degrees for 3 days. Following re-warming he underwent surgery for anterior and posterior fusion of his neck. His surgical team was optimistic for his recovery, but with his type of spinal cord injury they were unsure how much function he would recover. On 4/26/2012, Justin was admitted to the Levine Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Pavilion to begin his intensive rehabilitation.
Upon admission to rehab, Justin was unable to use his left arm or leg functionally and his right arm, right leg and trunk were very weak. He had to be lifted from the bed to chair dependently and required maximal assistance to maintain sitting balance. Justin was very nervous about rehab – nervous about all of the unknowns and being away from home. His fears were quickly eliminated as he became acclimated to his daily routine. The accommodations at LCH Rehabilitation Pavilion helped calm his fears, as one of his parents was able and encouraged to be with him at all times. Justin began to make progress and his sense of humor was evident – he loved to make the staff laugh. His favorite memory of his time at rehab is the first day he was hooked up on electrical stimulation, used to facilitate improved muscle strength. As soon as he was hooked up, his therapist Tara plugged the cord into the machine and Justin pretended he was being shocked. The look on Tara's face kept him laughing for days.
Through hard work and a lot of fun, Justin made impressive progress. On June 7, 2012, just 2 months after his accident, he walked out of Levine Children's Hospital to the cheers of his family. He is currently using an ankle brace and rolling walker for mobility and requires assistance to climb stairs. He is extremely proud that he is able to transfer independently and "get around on his own." Justin still has a lot of rehabilitation and hard work in his future but he remains optimistic. His long-term goal is to return to hockey and playing basketball in his driveway. Justin will be a freshman in high school next year and is looking forward to continued recovery.
Today Justin is with us at Dunn Physical Therapy and we are so thrilled with his success. Here are a few words that Justin’s therapist, Kenny has to say about his progress….”Justin is an amazing kid who has always had a positive attitude which I believe is a big part of his success. Justin has now regained a majority of his function for daily recreational activities. All of this in the last 6 months that he has been with Dunn PT. We continue to work with Justin so he can exceed his therapy goals so that he is able to do the activities he wants throughout his life. Truly an amazing kid.
On April 7, 2013 we will celebrate his one year anniversary and be thankful for all!