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Spinal Cord Injury

‘I didn’t think I was going to live’: Coast retiree learns to adapt after paralyzing tree stand fall

Matt Dubuisson thought he was going to die.

The Pass Christian 60-year-old had fallen some 25 feet from a tree stand. And when he hit the ground, he “felt and heard” bones breaking.

“I knew it was bad when I reached and felt my legs and couldn’t feel anything,” he said.

The impact fractured 12 ribs, his sternum and broke his back in three places. One vertebra shattered “like a brick that had been thrown against concrete.”

“After my CAT scan, they said my chance of walking again was not good,” he said.

Investing in the future: Methodist Rehabilitation Center provides therapy students singular experience with advanced technology, facilities and staff

While studying to be a physical therapist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Health-Related Professions, Annie Campbell heard nothing but good things about Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s student program.

“I heard over and over again that it was such a great clinical experience,” Campbell said.

 So she says she jumped at the chance to enroll. And now, after 12 weeks working with and learning from the staff of MRC’s spinal cord injury program, she says it’s more than lived up to the hype.

Former Ole Miss running back tackles quest to walk again with trademark determination

As a running back for the 1989 Ole Miss Rebels, Drew native Ed Thigpen amassed 327 yards rushing, scored five touchdowns and made the front page of USA Today.

Yet he says the best moment in his life happened in the therapy gym of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

“I stood up without needing anything for one minute,” he said.

That might seem a tiny victory for someone Ole Miss Coach Billy Brewer called “my kind of guy” for his hard-nosed playing style.

But Thigpen had been humbled by a health scare he never expected.

Stepping up: Dr. Jennifer Villacorta named Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s new medical director

Dr. Jennifer Villacorta can’t say she ever saw herself as a medical director.

“They are usually older, and I’m still wearing headbands,” she joked.

But when she was offered the position at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, the spinal cord injury specialist decided to “step up to it.”

“After being on the front lines as a physician, I realize there is so much you can do for patients and the medical team when you have a voice. And that’s what I’m excited about.”

High achiever: MRC physical therapist receives 2019 ASIA Research Award

Jacob Long’s list of titles can be a mouthful.

He’s a doctor of physical therapy (DPT). He earned his assistive technology professional (ATP) and seating and mobility specialist (SMS) certifications from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). And he’s a neuro clinical specialist (NCS), a distinction bestowed by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).

“It can be hard for even me to keep all of those acronyms straight,” he said.

Faster and better: Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics offers free screenings for Bioness L300 Go, an advanced neuroprosthetic device for controlling foot drop

It’s been over seven years since Stevelyn Robinson was paralyzed in a school bus crash, and he hasn’t stopped fighting. He continues to progress through regular physical therapy at Methodist Outpatient Therapy in Ridgeland.

With the help of a walker, the Winona native walked across the stage at his 2016 graduation from Holmes Community College. Now a student at the University of Mississippi, he is working hard so he can do the same again.

‘I did what I was supposed to do’: Meridian athlete Alixus Hearn sets goals, gives it her all to overcome paralyzing spinal injury

On a misty fall afternoon, Alixus Hearn crashed her car just down the road from Northeast Lauderdale High School in Meridian.

“I was heading to the field when I heard sirens going off everywhere,” said Tyler Vick, head coach for the school’s slow pitch softball team. “The principal called and said there had been an accident. And your heart just drops.”

A right center fielder for the Trojans, Alixus is someone “everyone loved to be around,” Vick said. And it hurt to tell her teammates that she was fighting for her life.

‘Such a blessing’: For spinal cord injury survivor Brad Stubblefield and wife Kristan, having children has brought joy along with a unique set of challenges

After over 25 years working with spinal cord injury patients at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, occupational therapist Bridgett Pelts knows there is little they can’t do when they set their minds to it.

That includes experiencing the joys of parenthood.

“It is no different for them as with anyone else who wants to have a child, they just have to know there will be challenges,” Pelts said. “They have to be willing to think a little bit differently and adapt the way they do things.”

‘Every muscle in my body was paralyzed’: Methodist Rehab helps John ‘Bones’ Cossar reach goal to play golf again

John “Bones” Cossar has been flaunting his golf scorecard lately.

But it has nothing to do with proving whether he eagled, birdied or parred.

For Cossar, just making it to a tee box is evidence of an evolution he feared he’d never make. Just nine months ago, he couldn’t move a muscle, let alone swing a club.

“Every muscle in my body was paralyzed,” said the chairman emeritus of Mississippi Valley Title Insurance in Ridgeland. “I couldn’t wiggle a finger. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t swallow. I was on a breathing machine and a feeding tube.”

Ready for Mayhem: Therapy at MRC helps Ridgeland cyclist bounce back from spinal cord injury to ride in annual Mayhem Century Ride

For a seasoned cyclist like Robert Tierce, riding the 60-some-odd miles from his Ridgeland home to Kosciusko may not sound like a Herculean task.

“I used to ride a road bike anywhere from 60 to 70 miles a time, no problem,” he said.

But now, it is quite a feat. Nearly two years ago his right leg was completely paralyzed by a spinal cord injury from a gunshot wound.

Tierce made the jaunt using a recumbent bicycle, which places the rider in a reclining position. 

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