Leechburg local Brendan Beck believes if you try, you can do anything. Beck, a former HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital spinal cord injury patient, has experienced this firsthand as he continues to recover from a broken back that resulted in paralysis.
On Aug. 24, 2015 Beck was following his 7-year-old nephew on a BMX track when his bike came down on its front wheel flipping him over the handle bars where he landed on his head. He was wearing a helmet, but the accident caused a compression fracture in the thoracic area of his spine. Two days later Beck underwent surgery to attempt a repair.
When Beck woke up post-operation hoping to hear good news, he felt a surge of electricity from his belly button down and everything went numb. Following an MRI he learned a screw had hit his spinal column causing paralysis in his lower body.
On Aug. 29, Beck entered HealthSouth Harmarville for inpatient rehabilitation with a positive attitude and an open mind. He worked mainly with HealthSouth Harmarville occupational therapist Michelle McCracken and physical therapist Allison Keck. While in physical therapy, Beck recalls the moment he became hopeful of walking again.
“Allison had a foam roller placed under my legs and encouraged me to try and lift my left leg,” said Beck. “I saw an inch of movement and that one inch at that time made me hopeful.”
After 19 days at HealthSouth Harmarville, Beck finally took his first steps using the parallel bars, an emotional moment that Beck said proved no matter what, he could do whatever he put his mind to. With continued momentum, Beck was released to return home on Oct. 13 with an outpatient rehabilitation plan so he could continue to build strength.
“Once I was told I’d never get out of a wheelchair,” said Beck. “Here I am doing all of these things and strengthening myself each day. Being able to do that has shown not only me, but everyone here and at HealthSouth Harmarville that if you believe and if you try, you can do this.”
Now, Beck works out at the gym four days a week, including walking on the treadmill and using the elliptical. He was able to get back on his mountain bike and enjoys cycling through his neighborhood. Beck is determined to return back to work and normal life. In the meantime, he has been able to go back to HealthSouth Harmarville each week to offer hope and support to patients as they go through their rehabilitation.