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New Ulm Medical Center

Courage Kenny Kids' physical therapy helps kids reach their potential

The 20-week ultrasound is a big one for expecting moms. Usually, that's when you find out if you should start shopping for pink or blue. But Caroline Tintes got a big shock. She found out that her son had spina bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal cord doesn't fully close. She was told her son would have significant problems with walking.

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Brett Tintes, a patient of Courage Kenny Kids, works on his physical therapy with Athletic Trainer Marcus Hopp (left) and Physical Therapist Eileen Campbell.

Today, Brett is almost 11. Thanks in no small part to the therapists at the Courage Kenny Kids, he is able to walk well with the use of arm crutches.

Long-term help

Brett has been in therapy since he was born, said Caroline. He started receiving services at Courage Kenny Kids around age 2 – when it was still known as the Physical Therapy Department at New Ulm Medical Center.

"He started crawling when he was about a year old," said Caroline. "I thought, his legs are moving, he's crawling – walking isn't going to be that hard. I didn't realize what a long road walking would be."

But Brett and Caroline have had help along that road from Eileen Campbell, Brett's physical therapist. Eileen has been at their side on this journey.

"I believe that Brett's coming to physical therapy has made him increasingly more independent in his walking and in caring for himself," said Campbell. "At therapy, we constantly challenge Brett to progress to the next level."

Brett has a great attitude and a strong work ethic. "Initially each new thing is a bit scary and he is nervous about trying," said Campbell. "But with the support of the therapists Brett demonstrates increased confidence and pride in his ability to do new things."

He even has a little fun while he works. "His therapy is a lot of work, but once he's doing it he enjoys it," said Caroline. She praises his therapy team at Courage Kenny Kids for keeping him engaged.

"The therapists know him so well and they think of exciting activities for him so he enjoys it. Obviously there are times he doesn't want to do things, but Eileen is really encouraging," said Caroline. "She says 'you've got to do this, you've got to work hard.’ "

Pride in great strides

Brett's commitment to his therapy has helped him make enormous progress. Of course, Brett's extremely supportive family has also made a huge difference. Their involvement in his therapy helps him to succeed.

"Brett has truly accomplished a level of mobility with crutches that I was not even sure he could achieve," said Campbell. The Courage Kenny Kids facility offers specialized equipment, from treadmills to parallel bars to virtual reality technology that helps Brett safely challenge himself. "He has been able to attempt activities he may not have otherwise been able to attempt."

Caroline is proud of her son's accomplishments, but so is he. "Being able to walk more has certainly been great and something he's been really proud of," said Caroline.

Caroline is grateful for the caring, encouraging therapists at Courage Kenny Kids and their specialized pediatric facility.

"When Brett was born with this diagnosis I didn't know anything about physical therapy or crutches and walkers or wheelchairs," explained Caroline. "It's so nice to have someone so knowledgeable to help him move on and do more things. I don't know how we would have done that otherwise."

For more information about Courage Kenny Kids, please call 507-217-5173.

Source: Health Edition, September 2012
Reviewed by: Courage Kenny Kids - New Ulm
First Published: 09/01/2012
Last Reviewed: 09/01/2012