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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Neurology

    Love Endures: A Remarkable Recovery Leads to a New Future

    It’s true that a road trip can change your life, and it did for Sergeant Brandon Ott, just not in the way he was expecting. For nine years, Brandon worked alongside his friend, Denton Tipler, at the police department in Florence, Oregon. To break the monotony of the COVID-19 lockdown, they planned a ‘guy’s trip’ - a pandemic safe, motorcycle adventure traveling through Idaho and Washington. On the morning of July 22, 2020, they set out on their journey. But by 8 p.m., they ran into rough weather - with wind, poor visibility and heavy rain as they rode into Nevada. Four miles from their destination, on a desolate stretch of Highway 140, a gust of wind hit Brandon. Denton watched in disbelief as his friend bounced, tumbled and ultimately came to a stop after sliding over 100 yards. He flagged down the next vehicle, a semi-truck, and the driver did traffic control while another passerby drove to get cell service and call 911.  A Distressing Call  About 10 p.m. the same night, Angie Brog, Brandon’s partner, picked up her phone at the Florence police station. A Nevada highway patrolman let her know Brandon was in a motorcycle accident and had been taken to a hospital in Winnemucca, NV. From there he took a life flight to Renown Regional Medical Center.  Angie immediately called Brandon’s parents and told Addison, their 9-year-old daughter, the news. They quickly packed their bags and drove to Nevada. On the drive to Reno, an ER doctor called Angie to give her Brandon’s status, “I can’t thank him enough. I was so worried. He even gave me his personal cell phone number.”   Upon arrival, she ran to see Brandon in the trauma ICU. “His face was shattered, he had a collapsed lung, a tube was down his throat and something was in his head to relieve pressure from his swelling brain,” she remembers. “He was not expected to live.”  While Brandon was in a coma for three days, Angie was by his side, trying to come to grips with a new normal. “The doctors did not sugarcoat it,” she recalls. “They told me to prepare myself if he pulled through.”  It was a rough week in the ICU with Brandon heavily sedated, so he could heal. From there he was transferred to the neurology floor, where he slowly improved. While there, his daughter Addison got to see him for the first time. Angie says, “When Addison saw her daddy for the very first time, she was relieved, happy she could hug him, and that he was alive.” Miraculously his legs were not broken and he was able to hold simple conversations and walk a few steps.    As the days went on, Brandon’s dad returned to Oregon, and the Inn at Renown became the family’s new home. “It was such a blessing to be so close to Brandon,” Angie observes. “It allowed us to relax a little being in the same building and let us settle in.”  The Comeback Brandon’s first memory after the accident was waking up in the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, 16 days after his accident, not knowing where he was. (Brandon experienced amnesia due to his brain injury and doesn’t remember the days prior to his rehab stay.) He recalls looking around the hospital room and seeing the photos Angie posted of their family on the walls and wondering, “How did they get pictures of my family?” Immediately after learning that Brandon was awake, Angie raced back to the hospital, went outside his window and talked to Brandon on the phone, reassuring him that they were there for him and everything was going to be ok.  The next morning, he saw Addison for the first time that he remembered since his accident. They each put their hands to the hospital window “touching” each other in an emotional reunion. During the pandemic, each rehab hospital room was designated with an animal, so family and friends could visit outside safely.  Brandon was in the ‘moose’ room. “Whoever thought of that was a genius,” notes Brandon.  A new phase of Brandon’s recovery began at the rehab hospital. "He worked so hard while he was there,” Angie shares. With a minimum of three hours of daily therapy sessions, including speech, occupational and physical therapy. Angie participated in every aspect of his therapy, “I learned so much from the therapists; they included me in everything,” she recalls. “The compassion and patience they have is amazing. It takes a special type of person to do this job. I cannot say enough good things about the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital staff. If he would have been anywhere else, I’m not sure he would be alive,” she says.  It wasn’t easy. Brandon had a brain injury that required a bolt in his skull to relieve the pressure, and a broken left collar bone and left eye socket. His entire face had to be reconstructed. He remembers his face hurting and thinking he looked like Freddy Krueger. When he saw himself in the mirror for the first time, he was surprised to find he only looked thinner, with a gauze pad on his temple.   Prior to the accident, Brandon weighed 300 pounds, but had just finished a year-long fitness journey losing 119 pounds, by doing CrossFit and overhauling his diet. During rehab his weight dropped to 160 pounds and he was known as “the double portion” guy, eating extra food to gain weight.   Shaun Stewart, Therapeutic Recreational Therapist, recalls Brandon riding the recumbent cycle during his recovery. “I remember him saying he didn’t know if he was ever going to be able to ride a bike again and was appreciative when adaptive sports were discussed. He was very willing to participate and excited to be able to get on a bike again. He had a positive attitude and always was willing to get up and get back on the bike.”  Better Together Although Angie and Brandon were in a committed relationship for almost 11 years, they were not legally married at the time of his accident. “In our minds, our lives were perfect,” Angie asserts. “We had lived together for so long and have a child together.” However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, Angie had to lie and tell the medical staff that they were married so she could be by his side. When Brandon woke up from a coma, she told him, “No matter what I’m your wife.” He asked, “What do you mean, you are my wife?” After hearing Angie’s explanation, Brandon said, “Then, let’s do it.”   “We realized when faced with death that the benefits far outweighed the negatives in becoming husband and wife,” Angie discloses. “The rest is history.”  On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Brandon and Angie were married underneath the trees behind the rehab hospital. Their family, friends and several staff members attended the ceremony. “I think that’s a first for us,” declares Dr. Gavin Williams. “I cleared him for capacity to make decisions, and we had a COVID-friendly wedding on our back lawn before he went back home to Oregon.”  The next day, Brandon officially left the hospital. “I felt good. Like ‘he’s gonna make it,’ but I was also scared,” mentions Angie. The family stayed in town for a couple of days to make sure everything was ok and then traveled home to Oregon.

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    • Cancer Care
    • Physical Therapy
    • Physical Rehabilitation

    Learn How to Manage Lymphedema

    Katherine Bunker, Physical Therapist and Certified Lymphedema Therapist (PT, DPT, CLT) at Renown, discusses how patients can manage lymphedema with changes to daily routines along with diet and exercise. Lymphedema is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is a chronic and progressive disorder that results in swelling of the arms, legs, or other parts of the body due to an accumulation of lymph fluid. Lymphedema can occur because of cancer treatments, surgery, or other medical conditions.   Managing Lymphedema Treatments to help reduce symptoms such as pain, swelling and discomfort associated with lymphedema can include compression garments, exercise, skin care, manual lymphatic drainage and pneumatic compression.  The goal is to avoid triggering the onset of lymphedema. Lymphedema can present itself immediately after surgery or radiation. It can appear months later or even years later. There are many factors that influence the development of lymphedema which is why prevention is so important. If you have had injury or disruption to your lymphatic system, then:  Avoid injuries to the skin near the affected area. For example: wearing gloves during gardening, using bug spray to ward off mosquitos, covering your limbs while playing with pets, keeping nails clean and avoiding cutting too close to cuticle, utilizing electric razors at the armpit (instead of a traditional razor).,   Avoid blood pressure readings to the affected limb or request blood pressure to be taken manually, not by a machine.   Avoid heat like saunas, hot tubs, sunburns, hot packs, and even massages.    Avoid tight jewelry like rings or bracelets, which can be too tight.

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Prevention and Wellness

    Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries: What to Know

    If you're not taking safety precautions during mountain sports, you could be at risk for a spinal cord injury. Dr. Benjamin Pence of Renown Rehabilitation Hospital explains the best way to prevent this serious injury. Mountain sports are a big part of the winter season here in our area, but if you’re not practicing all the proper safety techniques, you could end up with a serious spinal cord injury. Benjamin Pence, MD, Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, is here to offer tips to prevent this serious injury while you’re out enjoying what the Truckee Meadows has to offer. What is the spinal cord? The spine stretches from the base of your skull to the coccyx (commonly referred to as the tailbone). Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae—seven cervical, which are in your neck, 12 thoracic, which are in your chest, and five lumbar, which are in your lower back. There are ligaments and muscles attached to each vertebra. These facilitate back movement and protect the bones from damage. There is cartilage between each vertebra which acts as a shock absorber for your spine. Finally, the spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of the nervous tissue and support cells that is enclosed in the spinal canal and send signals from the brain to everything from your arm and leg muscles to bowel and bladder function. The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system.

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    • Neurology
    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Safe Kids

    Know Before You Go

    Grab your skis, goggles, coat – and don’t forget that helmet. Skiing and snowboarding are fun activities for all ages but come with the risk of injury. Read on for tips to make it a safe day on the mountain. Daydreaming about your next trip to the slopes? We talked to Jared Worchel, DO, about his top tips for gearing up. Get the Gear Before you head out to ski or snowboard, make sure you have all your gear ready and in good condition. Everything should fit correctly so that it keeps you as safe as possible. Wearing proper gear will also help keep you warm. Items to check on before you head out include: Boots Bindings Goggles Poles Helmet Outwear Gloves Pack water and snacks in case the drive takes longer than you except due to weather or traffic. You’ll also want to make sure that your cell phone is fully charged before you head out in case you need to contact friends of staff for help while on the mountain.  Helmet, Helmet, Helmet Having a helmet that fits correctly is the most important thing you can do to prepare for a safe day on the mountain. According to a National Ski Areas Association study, helmet use has increased over the last 15 years, with 80 percent of skiers and snowboarders using helmets. Schubert would like to see that number increase to 100 percent. “If you have a head injury it could take you out for the rest of your life,” Dr. Worchel said. “The most important things to think about when fitting a helmet are making sure that it really fits you appropriately. You want to go into a store and try on as many different helmets as they have available. I know it’s tempting to buy one online, but you’re never going to know if it fits correctly.” If you are in an accident, your helmet’s fit can help protect you. Dr. Worchel has some tips on fitting: A helmet should fit low and snug over the head. Make sure that the helmet doesn’t wiggle or feel loose. Look for a model that has adjustability in the back, which will help you make sure it fits snugly. F ind a helmet with a chin strap that will help it stay in place throughout the day.

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Patient Story

    Dave's Story: How One Ranger Drove On

    Meet Dave Pierson and his Wife Kathy Dave Pierson, 73, and his wife Kathy were just ten days away from a celebratory retirement trip to Africa in May 2021 when severe leg pain and discomfort landed Dave in the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. Unbeknownst to the couple, they would not be making the trek to Africa, and it would be several weeks before Dave would be back home with his wife in Carson City, their life drastically different than before.   It all happened so fast. After a prompt referral from the VA Hospital to Renown Regional Medical Center, Dave received treatment for a bacteremia infection and underwent emergency spine surgery due to an epidural abscess. However, once his surgeon Edward Perry, MD completed the emergency procedure at Renown Health, Dave learned there was still a long road ahead. He had extremely limited body function and would need to learn to walk again.  A Husband, Baseball Fan and Veteran  Until this emergency spinal cord surgery, Dave had lived an especially healthy life in his retirement, traveling the world with Kathy, taking photographs along the way and attending ball games for their beloved team, the Reno Aces. Dave, a Vietnam veteran, and Kathy planted their roots in Carson City surrounded by countless friends and family, eagerly awaiting Kathy’s retirement.   The Long Road Ahead  It was those same friends and family who remained by Dave’s side throughout his recovery process.   At the advice of the Renown team, Dave began a personalized physical rehabilitation plan at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital just days after his initial surgery. It was with the help of Charles Krasner, MD, an Infectious Disease Specialist that Dave made a smooth transition to be cared for at the Rehabilitation Hospital. Dave spent six weeks of inpatient treatment relearning fundamental occupational skills and motor functions such as eating and drinking, getting dressed, using a wheelchair and eventually taking his first steps, aided by a walker.   The couple proudly remembers a day at the Rehabilitation Hospital when Dave successfully buttoned up his shirt using a small apparatus designed to aid in the task. "It was a little thing, but it was a monumental thing," Kathy shared.  Dave achieved physical and cognitive victories, both on a small and large scale, over the next six weeks. Kathy visited every day she could, always prepared with a photo of the couple's past travels to encourage Dave.   The Rehabilitation Hospital staff grew close with the Piersons, sharing stories and photos of their dogs, travels and life. The nurses kept Kathy updated about her husband’s condition and prepared her for the journey to come, this included extensive education related to Dave’s future at-home care.   Benjamin Pence, MD, Dave’s lead rehabilitation doctor and the Director of the Institute for Neurosciences, always seemed to know just how to motivate Dave on his most challenging days. As a ranger in Vietnam, the phrase, “drive on ranger” meant a lot to the veteran when it came to determination and perseverance. So, the phrase was used as encouragement by Dr. Pence and the Rehabilitation Hospital team throughout Dave’s journey, becoming a fond memory about hope and determination during recovery.

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    • Neurology
    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Spine, Sports, and Pain Medicine

    When Is It Time to See a Physiatrist

    Physiatry (fi-zahy-uh-tree), also referred to as physical medicine and rehabilitation, encompasses the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disabilities or injuries related to the brain, nerves, bones and muscles. The goal of this specialty is to maximize physical functioning, greatly decrease or eliminate pain, foster independence and improve quality of life for those suffering with a disability, chronic pain and physical impairments. Who Is It for? Physiatry can help patients with functional deficits and secondary medical conditions as a result of the following: Amputation Brain Injury Osteoarthritis Spasticity and Movement Disorders Spinal Cord Injury Spine Pain Sports-Related Injuries Stroke Some of these medical conditions can often cause chronic pain or impede physical functioning, ultimately affecting a person’s overall well-being and making it difficult for them to sustain a desired quality of life.

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    • Renown Health
    • Physical Therapy
    • Physical Rehabilitation

    Recognizing World Lymphedema Day

    To recognize World Lymphedema Day, Katherine Bunker, Physical Therapist and Certified Lymphedema Therapist (PT, DPT, CLT) at Renown, shares her experience helping those with lymphedema and lymphatic disease thrive in their daily lives. Each year, World Lymphedema Day continues to be an advocate-driven celebration and global education opportunity on what it means to live with lymphedema and lymphatic disease. We explore why this cause deserves global recognition each year on March 6 below. Types of Lymphedema Lymphedema is an abnormal collection of protein-rich fluid that causes swelling just beneath the skin. The fluid, which is filtered through the lymph nodes, makes up a network of tissues that help the body get rid of toxins, waste and other unwanted substances. According to Katherine Bunker, PT, DPT, CLT at Renown Health, this collection of fluid causes swelling, usually in the arms or legs, but can happen in other areas too. It can also cause discomfort, restricted movement and may increase the risk of infections.

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Healthy Aging
    • Patient Story

    Fall Recovery Gets Patient Back to Life and Movement

    Standing at the top of the stairs to the basement Sharon Sturtevant was chatting with her grandson in the kitchen. Suddenly, Sharon stumbled and fell down the stairs. “The last thing I remember was my head hitting the floor before everything went black,” she recalls. Her grandson, Oliver, quickly called 911 and paramedics arrived on the scene, taking her by ambulance to Renown Regional Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a broken collarbone and a neck fracture that would require complex surgery involving fusion of her neck. Fall Recovery Begins After her surgery, Sharon was transported to the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital and her recovery process began. Sharon smiles as she describes the rehab hospital team “They are fabulous here, I learned so much about how my body moves, and the proper way to move it. At home I wouldn’t have known what to do,” she confesses. “They set me up for success to return home and not get injured again.” At Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, different therapists coordinated a custom plan to help Sharon recover from her injuries. Ultimately, the goal of her physical therapy was to help restore and improve her strength, reduce pain and increase her mobility for stamina and balance. Physical Therapy Key to Successful Treatment of Falls “My recovery after the operation was an eye-opener,” Sharon declares. “I had no idea how much went into regaining everyday moment.” During her rehabilitation hospital stay, she had to re-learn how to swallow, go up and down stairs, as well as successfully get in and out of a wheelchair, which involved transferring her body weight safely. Due to hormonal changes after menopause women are 50% more at risk for falls than men, according to research. Sharon now has a greater awareness of how to move her body and is significantly stronger than before entering her physical rehabilitation sessions. Not everyone knows that everyday mobility is impacted by four basic skills: stepping, trunk flexibility, upright posture and weight shifting. “I don’t know how I could have gotten this far without the wonderful therapists here,” she shares. “They are so thorough. Proper alignment was encouraged helping me to walk and stand correctly. They were all so nice and patient with me,” she states. “I actually had less pain because I didn’t hurt myself moving the wrong way.” Falls Are Common Among Aging Adults As we age balance becomes more important. Unfortunately falls are common among older adults with negative quality of life effects, even fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four seniors fall each year in the U.S. A comprehensive physical therapy plan for sudden falls or chronic conditions is a safe, effective alternative treatment to medication such as opioids. Today Sharon is back at home with a new banister installed on the basement stairs. As a music lover she is enjoying her musical grandchildren Oliver and Eliana who play instruments. She looks forward to attending their upcoming school concerts. Sharon remembers the staff at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital fondly, “They were unfailingly patient, supportive, informative and understanding.” Her advice to those unexpectedly finding themselves in the rehabilitation hospital is, “Listen to your therapists carefully and follow their instructions.”

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Physical Therapy
    • Renown Health
    • Annual Report

    The Road to Recovery Close to Home

    Meet Connor Smith Life was hectic for Connor Smith. He had just finished at the top of his class at both the fire academy and paramedic school and was looking forward to starting work in northern Nevada. It was winter 2019, and he was ready to have some fun. The plan was to ride ATVs at Sand Mountain with his brother Cody, dad Lance and some friends, but a jump would change everything. Connor’s ATV took off but landed awkwardly, and he remembers immediately knowing he was paralyzed. Connor’s mom, Dana Shugar, was at home when she received the upsetting call from Cody, who told her he had an accident. Connor was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center, the area’s only Level II Trauma Center. After a seven-hour emergency surgery, Dana learned that Connor would live but only had a slight chance of walking again due to a spinal fracture. “The surgeon saved his life. It’s amazing how your life can change in a matter of seconds,” she said. Once his condition stabilized, Connor moved to the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital and began physical rehabilitation. “Thank God for the people at rehab,” Dana said. “Dr. Pence, the therapists, nurses and all the employees were a wonderful support system, explaining everything and answering all our questions. The kindness they showed got me through.” Connor agrees, calling the Renown rehab team nothing short of amazing.

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Community Partnerships

    Renown Hosts Adaptive Sports Day for All Abilities at Sky Tavern RASE Event

    Despite the challenges of a pandemic, the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital continues to help their patients thrive outside of the hospital walls. On July 31, 2021, they hosted the first-ever Renown Alumni Sports Extravaganza, or RASE, a day focused on adaptive sports for all abilities. “Sports and recreation have a unique way of breaking down emotional barriers,” states Jared Worchel, DO, MS. The alumni used their skills on a climbing wall, Frisbee golf, archery, an obstacle course and bag toss. Over 20 people spent the day cruising the first adaptive mountain biking trail in the Tahoe region. “Having old friends meet up and seeing new friendships form had to be the highlight of the weekend,” says Shaun Stewart Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with Renown Rehabilitation Hospital. “RASE was a great way to learn new methods to improve outdoor recreation engagement from both participants and the many programs involved.” Dr. Worchel agrees, “The smiles really make it worth it, and we even saw several touching moments with tears of joy when participants completed a task and finally felt like they were getting past their injury, mentally, after years of being so focused on recovery.” Adaptive Climbing and Camping One touching moment came on the adaptive climbing wall. Cassie Firchau, an occupational therapist at Renown, recalls a rehab alumni who had never been on a climbing wall (pre or post injury) conquering the wall. “Everyone was cheering him on. I was impressed with how he used the ascending pull up bar to get up the wall,” she remembers. Mark Wellman, the founder of No Limits, provided the climbing wall. “I had heard of Mark, but I had no idea that he climbed El Capitan only a few years after his spinal cord injury,” says Cassie. “Having him at the event was a great opportunity to learn how to stay active and enjoy the things you love, no matter the circumstance.” After dark, the event continued with a DJ spinning hits followed by overnight camping. That evening Shaun Stewart had the chance to talk to one of the alumni. “He spoke on how he was nervous about camping and how it would go in a new campground. He said that he was happy for an opportunity to practice with our group prior to going out on his own,” remarks Stewart. “Knowing that this event can help create opportunities even outside our events is great to know.” Adaptive camping activities allow all abilities to not only enjoy nature, but also connect. “We also saw a lot of interaction between the participants themselves, sharing their journeys with each other during the down times which was possible with the extended format,” explains Dr. Worchel. “Overall it was an overwhelming success and we are already looking forward to next year.” Northern Nevada's Adaptive Sports Community Not only did the Renown Rehab alumni come together at RASE, but so did the greater northern Nevada community. Along with the hard work of the Renown Rehabilitation employees, the City of Reno Adaptive and Inclusion Programs, Wasting Arrows, Disable Sports Eastern Sierra, No Limits, and High Fives Foundation, provided support and equipment for the alumni. “It was so great to see multiple groups, volunteers and non-profits collaborating to support alumni participants to live life to the fullest, and to experience outdoor recreation in such a dynamic way,” states Josh Patterson, Supervisor of Rehab Therapy Services at Renown Health. "The City of Reno is so grateful for this sponsorship to bring together new and old Renown alumni to learn and encourage each other. There were many firsts this weekend, and we look forward to future participation in City of Reno Adaptive programs,” says April Wolfe, CTRS, City of Reno Parks and Recreation. For more information on future alumni adaptive events, please email: shaun.stewart@renown.org.

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    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Patient Story

    How a New Recreation Therapy Program Creates Valuable Bonds

    The Recreation Therapy Alumni Program is a new addition to Renown Rehabilitation Hospital’s current programs. After daily hospital physical therapy ends, it is an opportunity for other adventures. Shaun Stewart, CTRS (Ceritified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist), tells us about the new Renown Alumni Recreation Therapy Program, its partnership with the City of Reno and upcoming events. It’s no secret that being active and social supports a satisfying, happy life. With this in mind, the Renown Alumni Recreation Therapy Program reinforces this idea. Its goal is to help patients experience the energy, teamwork and commitment that sports and recreation provide beyond the hospital walls. “We are happy to partner with the City of Reno’s adaptive and inclusion programming to create an active community of adaptive sports participants. There are many options for outdoor recreation in our area. This program looks to share these opportunities with those with a traumatic spinal cord injury,” says Shaun. April Wolfe, CTRS, with the City of Reno adds, “The program’s main objective is to empower individuals living with spinal cord injury to live and recreate independently in the community. We also want them to enjoy the activities, improving their emotional and physical well-being by taking part in the Renown Alumni Recreation Therapy program.” First Successful Therapy Event On Aug. 27, 2020, the recreation therapy program’s first event was an introduction to adaptive mountain biking. Eight participants enjoyed a morning of adaptive biking thanks to a grant in partnership with the City of Reno. “Getting back to an active leisure lifestyle following injury can increase your quality of life both socially and physically,” explains Shaun. “It was great to be outside with people of all abilities enjoying the beautiful Nevada sunshine.” We encourage patients of all abilities to develop active skills, make lasting friendships and, of course, have a blast. Certainly any activity is possible with adaptive equipment and a motivated attitude. Future Recreation Therapy Events Below are the details for the next event. Event: Introduction to Wheelchair Rugby Learn the rules of the sport and play with local athletes. When: Sunday, Nov. 1, from 2 – 5 p.m. Where: Evelyn Mount Northeast Community Center, 1301 Valley Rd., Reno, NV 89512 Cost: Free RSVP: Shaun.Stewart@renown.org or 775-982-3612 by Tuesday, October 26, 2020 This event has a 10 participant limit, following six feet distancing guidelines. Please bring a mask to wear. In particular, this will be a learning event and no scrimmages will occur Rugby wheelchairs will be provided. Please RSVP, to ensure the reservation of the appropriate equipment. In case you cannot attend this event, please look for upcoming events which will include adaptive archery, skiing and scuba diving. Renown Rehabilitation Hospital | 775-982-3500 Renown Rehabilitation Hospital is the region’s only hospital with certification by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). It is certified for: Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program Stroke Specialty Program Medical Rehabilitation Case Management Take a Virtual Tour

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    • Heart Care
    • Physical Rehabilitation

    Going the Distance to Get Heart Healthy

    After having a heart attack, a Mammoth resident travels to Reno to complete rehab. He’s already lost 15 pounds and gained a healthier outlook on life.  Eric Smith travels from his home in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., to Reno twice a week to participate in Renown Health’s Healthy Heart Program.   “Living in Mammoth, it’s a three hour drive for me up here. Well, it’s my life or it’s a drive,” says Healthy Heart Program participant Eric Smith. The Mammoth Lakes, Calif., resident travels to Reno twice a week to participate in the 72-session program. which includes heart-healthy classes, exercise sessions and cooking demonstrations. “The cardiac rehab program here is excellent,” Smith says. “It is the only program that I am aware of that combines nutrition and exercise together. What’s the point of exercising to get your heart strong if you are still eating poorly and not educating yourself on that?” Smith’s heart issues began when he was 46-years-old. He received an angioplasty, which is a stent to hold a coronary artery open. Two years later, Smith had a heart attack and was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center for emergency bypass surgery on four arteries to allow blood to flow to his heart more freely. An avid skier, ski racing coach and tile setter, Smith admits that it is sometimes difficult to eat right when you’re on the go in a tourist town. Since starting the cardiac rehab program, Smith says he is feeling more optimistic on making lasting lifestyle changes after meeting other people who are going through the same challenges, like food cravings and trying to get stronger. “The big thing is getting educated on food,” says Smith, who has swapped out heavy breakfasts for whole grains and fruit, and steak dinners for baked fish. In just a few months of starting the program, Smith lost 15 pounds. He looks forward to passing along what he’s learned to his friends.  “Everybody benefits from this program, especially if you have experienced a heart attack,” Smith says. “But if you don’t have those issues, you can still get the benefits from eating healthier.”

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