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.


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Michael Jordan of Greenwood was never supposed to make it home for the holidays.

Tethered to a ventilator and unable to walk, the 40-year-old seemed destined to live out his life at Methodist Specialty Care Center in Flowood.

The residential care facility is designed for the severely disabled, and Jordan knew he needed the center’s expertise. Still, he couldn’t imagine a future so far from family.

“I was depressed and I wanted to give up,” he said. “But the big man above wouldn’t let me give up.”


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The Research Study

To her long list of medical accomplishments, Jackson ob-gyn Dr. Freda McKissic Bush can now add celebrated research subject.

She recently became the subject of a scientific paper entitled: “Lazarus Effect of High Dose Corticosteroids in a Patient with West Nile Virus Encephalitis: A Coincidence or a Clue?”

Published in “Frontiers of Medicine,” the article is co-authored by neurologists Dr. Art Leis of Methodist Rehabilitation Center and Dr. David Sinclair of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center.


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Since he lost his legs in an auto accident, Hank Graham’s life has been full of ups and downs.  He has been in and out of physical rehab facilities, had multiple surgeries, experienced some setbacks, even weathered personal tragedy.  Still, his belief he would walk again rarely wavered.

And with the staff at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, he found a team of specialists who believed in him, too.


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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.”


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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.


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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.


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Most teens’ “what I did on my summer vacation” essays are probably about lazing by the pool, hanging out with friends or family trips to Disney World.

Connor Bready’s could be titled “I Recovered from a Traumatic Brain Injury.”

The 16-year-old from Greenwood came to Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s brain injury program on June 12 in a wheelchair. He had just had surgery that removed a piece of his skull after sustaining a head injury in a freak accident. Just 10 days later, he walked out MRC’s doors on his own, and he’s already back at school at Pillow Academy.


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The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation has pledged a $1 million gift to the Wilson Research Foundation at Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC). The gift establishes the Gertrude C. Ford Director of Motion Analysis.   

Methodist’s motion analysis laboratory is used to assess patients’ function and outcomes of various treatments. The director’s position requires a rare set of skills that ranges from operating highly sophisticated equipment to having extensive knowledge of human movements.  


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Bride or groom’s side?

At the Oct. 26 wedding of Ben Lane and Walton Fenelon, that question may pose a predicament for guests who work at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

Ben’s father, Sam Lane, Sr., and Walton’s mother, Kelley Fenelon, are both board members of the hospital’s Wilson Research Foundation.

And what fostered their involvement was the same thing that forged a bond between Ben and Walton—the brain injury of a loved one and their subsequent recovery at MRC.


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