(Calhoun, Ga) —Emmett Young says he can’t wait to get back on the golf course. After suffering serious complications from heart surgery last April, the 75-year-old Calhoun man wasn’t sure if he would ever play the sport again.
But thanks to the professionals at Gordon Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services – and a unique video game – he just might be out there swinging a club sooner than he ever imagined.
“Mr. Young first came to see us in November,” said Rob McFarland, a physical therapist at Gordon Hospital. “He was in a wheelchair and could not walk at all without someone assisting him.”
Due to blood clots in his legs following his heart surgery, Young had to have his right leg amputated below the knee. He also lost the toes on his left foot. He was hospitalized for five months and spent a long time in a drug-induced coma, he said.
“I remember the doctor telling me that they would have to take my leg off and I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” he said. “When I woke up it was gone.”
After recovering from his amputations and being fitted with a prosthetic leg, Young began his journey through Gordon Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services.
“Mr. Young has done very well,” McFarland said. “He now walks independently with a cane and whereas before because of balance issues, he was unable to get up and out of a chair by himself, he can now get up without any trouble.”
In addition to traditional rehabilitation methods offered at Gordon Hospital, Young also benefits from a new tool that is sweeping the physical therapy world – WiiHab, which utilizes the Nintendo Wii Fit video technology.
“The Wii Fit uses a computerized balance board to measure center of gravity, which can help identify postural misalignment, balance problems, and core muscle strength,” explained Tom Peters, director of Gordon Hospital Rehabilitation Services. “The Wii Fit can then be used for a variety of balance activities, allowing the patient to measure performance with instant video feedback. The balance activities can be adapted to patient populations ranging from the frail elderly to athletes, and are used as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program, providing fun challenges for patients as they improve their balance skills, and learn to prevent potentially disastrous falls.”
Young said he looks forward to the WiiHab portion of his therapy, which he attends twice a week at Gordon Hospital.
“I like it,” he said. “It’s another tool to help me get my balance back because that’s what I’m really working on now.”
Best of all, using the Sports Package of the video game component, Young is able to work on his golfing skills before he returns to the course.
“This component has an actual golf club with it, and we are able to watch his balance as he swings the club,” McFarland said. “Since he was such an avid golfer before all this happened, our goal is to get him back out on the course.”
Young said he is very grateful to all the therapists and professionals at Gordon Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services, and also extended his appreciation to his family, including his wife, Christine, and sons, Ricky and Jeffrey Young, and their families.
“They did an excellent job taking care of me,” he said. “Somebody was with me at the hospital the whole time.”
Another patient to benefit from WiiHab at Gordon Hospital is Eric Childers, who was seriously injured in an auto accident last August. Among his injuries were a broken left arm, crushed heel, four fractured vertebrae, and a broken pelvis to name a few.