It’s a familiar scenario: After stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving and then indulging in Christmas gluttony, you promise you’ll hit the gym in January. Hard.

But be forewarned: Being overzealous invites overuse injuries, says staff at Methodist Rehabilitation Center.

“Some of the most common injuries I see this time of year are strain injuries from over-exercising and improper form,” says Jodie Joyner, a physical therapist for Methodist Rehab’s Fitness Lady clinic in Ridgeland.

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Jerry Vardaman of Brandon can’t stand to be idle.

So the stroke patient knew he was in the right place when he rolled into Methodist Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation in Flowood.

“The first thing physical therapist Karen Klein said to me was: Put your wheelchair in a closet and be prepared to work hard,” remembers Vardaman.

“And he worked so hard, he wore the rubber bottoms off a brand new pair of shoes,” Klein said.

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When Jay Levy tells high school students to slow down, buckle up and take care on the road, he’s speaking from a seat of authority — his wheelchair.

The 21-year-old senior at the University of Mississippi sustained a spinal cord injury in a February 2009 car accident while speeding back to school from his hometown of Madison.

Now, as a secondary education major and a student teacher at Lafayette High School in Oxford, he’s a living testament to the message he hopes to convey.

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As he lay trapped in the wreckage of an overturned Volkswagen Beetle, emergency room nurse John Adam Long could tell something was “bad wrong.”

He thought of his wife, Amanda, seven months pregnant with their second son. And of his firstborn, Tristan, whose first birthday was just two days away. Then he asked a bystander to call his home.

“He got on the phone and told me he thought he was going to die,” Amanda said. “And he told me he loved me and to take care of our baby.”

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In the early days after a breast cancer diagnosis, the focus is on survival.

But there comes a time when a woman is ready to reclaim the way she looked and felt before a mastectomy. And that’s when she can benefit from the assistance of certified mastectomy fitters and physical therapists.

These medical professionals at Methodist Rehab help women improve their self image and return to the activities they love.

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After his son recovered from a life-threatening brain injury at Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC), Sam Lane Sr. wanted to make sure others would have access to the same healing care.

He joined the board of MRC’s Wilson Research Foundation and has helped raise $1 million in donations and pledges to fund groundbreaking research and technologies for people with stroke, brain or spinal cord injuries.

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Methodist Rehabilitation Center recently became the only hospital in Mississippi to receive specialty accreditation for brain and spinal injury rehabilitation and one of only six with specialty accreditation in stroke rehab.

The Jackson hospital received the three-year accreditation from CARF International, an independent, non-profit organization that has been measuring the quality of medical rehab programs since 1966.

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Hattiesburg pediatrician John Gaudet likes to get up close and personal with his young patients.

So when muscular dystrophy began to hamper his hands-on style, he sought help from the Assistive Technology (AT) Clinic at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

Clinic staff looked at Gaudet’s health and lifestyle needs, and custom-fit the active physician with a standing power wheelchair. Now he can rise high to reach babies in hospital bassinets or go low to capture wiggly toddlers at his Children¹s Medical Group office.

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HATTIESBURG- Thanks to the combined efforts of a local family, many friends and several businesses, a Brazilian woman will soon be on her way home with a new spring in her step.

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Sonia Fogal and Joey Brinson make no bones about their competitive spirits.

Fogal, 42, and a Jackson resident, has played softball and volleyball. Brinson, 33, a Brandon native now living in Okolona, says he’s always liked “different” sports

Neither lost that spirit when separate traffic accidents took away the use of their legs.

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