Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury at University of Delaware

Jan 3, 2016

Filming Corey’s Story

One of our long term documentary projects, Corey’s Story is about a young woman aspiring to become a chef despite a traumatic brain injury she received in a car accident. Corey has been in the long rehabilitation process and is still working toward her dream. Her passion is what propels her recovery.

We recently visited Corey at one of the new additions to her rehabilitation regimen, Go Baby Go Cafe, at University of Delaware. “A program using a low tech enriched immersive environment as a novel step to rehabilitation”, stated Devina S. Kumar, PT, MS Co Principle Investigator, Go Baby Go Cafe Research Project.

The program, led by Dr. Cole Galloway, is a new take on an old system. In most medical institutions physical rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation and work therapy are done in distinct spaces at separate times. Galloway imagined a world where working, socializing and rehabilitation aren’t separate activities. They are one in the same, practiced at the same time in the same space.
This multifaceted therapy is achieved through a fairly simple harness suspension system.

By wearing a harness an average individual can rock climb, glide across a zipline and feel unfettered by gravity. You can do some pretty cool stuff that ordinarily you’d be incapable or too afraid due to risks. Take the above scenario and apply it to more simple everyday tasks, ie: walking, shopping or working.

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By providing a harness for individuals who have trouble walking or standing allows for freedom of movement without fear of falling. This creates personal independance.
Personal independence, is a game changer.

By equipping Corey with a harness she is able to walk around alone, strengthening her muscles, regaining coordination and most importantly beginning the long process of resocialization. She is learning skills necessary to reach her dream of becoming a chef.

At the cafe she is guided, but ultimately has to make food orders correctly and must collect payment herself. Something which may seem easy to us, but Corey has to relearn nearly everything. She had to relearn how to cut a sandwich, slice a tomato and properly dress a salad. She has to combine skillsets and activities involved in operations of the cafe, just like any other employee.

This is what makes Galloway’s idea unique. At Go baby Go relearning how to walk and socialize are not thought of as separate spheres. When you walk, you aren’t just walking. You walk over to someone in order to converse. You walk around a kitchen in order to make an order. Galloway raises the question, “Why not do all this at the same time?”

Go Baby Go is about independance. When in the harness, Corey can move about with greater mobility and coordination allowing her to push past her limits. At each of her 4 hour shifts she is taking a customer’s order, making it and successfully repeating the process. Doing all this helps Corey to reactivate pathways in her brain and think critically.

Corey’s progress is amazing and something we can’t express in this short blog post. Our documentary is meant to shed light on traumatic brain injuries and the long recovery process.

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