HOUSTON While doctors have not released the details of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords treatment plan at TIRR, experts say there are many standard therapies that traumatic brain injury patients undergo.
Loc Huynh, 23, is one of those patients.
On Tuesday, he was strapped into a harness at TIRR while his feet moved forward, one painfully slow step at a time.
Huynh was surrounded by therapists who made sure the equipment rolled forward with him and that his hips and feet were moving in the right direction, too.
The equipment is commonly used by brain-injury patients. It helps them move from sitting to standing to even walking.
But that progression is full of challenges.
You win some, you lose some, said Huynh. You gain some you lose some. That s what therapy is all about.
Each step for Huynh is a triumph - a triumph over the gunshot wound he survived.
About 3 years ago, I got a gunshot wound to the head, said Huynh. I ve been fighting to walk again.
Huyhn didn t want to talk about what happened that day, but said he s been paralyzed on the left side ever since. But now, he says he s regaining some feeling, and TIRR has helped him learn to move his legs again.
There are other common therapies for brain injury patients, too. To improve vision, patients can stand in front of a board that has buttons. Each time a button lights up, the patient must see it and tap on it.
Therapists even use Wii games with patients.
Almost everyone has a Wii, so we can take advantage of the Wii games to work on balance, even work on cognition to help them be able to problem-solve easier, said Lisa Lewis, an occupational therapist at TIRR.
But it s not easy.
You have to crawl before you walk with brain injury patients, said Lewis.
That s something Huynh can attest to. He has goals.
I m here and I m going to make the best of it, said Huynh.
One of his goals is to get up out of his wheelchair and someday walk out of TIRR on his own.