The Impact of a Physical Therapist and an Inspiring 9 Year Old Boy- Connor's Story

Monday, September 25, 2017
Connor Moore with his Physical Therapist Clinton Rice

October is National Physical Therapy month, a commemoration held by the American Physical Therapy Association designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.

At Mid America Rehab we have the honor of touching lives every day in our communities with the opportunity to make a positive impact for our patients and their well being. This past year has been full of inspiring stories, and in the spirit of Physical Therapy month, we are grateful to share with you a story of perseverance and the impact that Physical Therapy had on one amazing young man named Connor Moore in the words of his parents, Becky and Dave Moore.

Connor needed physical therapy after a traumatic accident which occurred on Saturday April 8, 2017. He and a buddy were riding a UTV when he was thrown from the vehicle and trapped underneath. Connor had severe internal injuries including collapsed lungs, back fractures, hip fractures and a severe concussion. His vestibular system was affected due to the blow he took to his head. Along with his balance and fractures he needed therapy to begin the healing process in hopes to have a full recovery.

Our experience at Mid America Rehab was one like no other. I knew as Connor’s mom I needed to be selective of who I chose to care for Connors therapy needs. He has always been a very active 9-year-old boy who enjoyed racing his dirt bike, playing soccer, baseball, swimming, running and anything he could do outdoors. I knew if he would make a full recovery it would be dependent upon his therapist. We knew we needed someone that would push him, challenge him and encourage him when he became frustrated and wanted to give up. We knew this wouldn’t be easy so being selective was a must. As his parents, we knew the potential was there for a full recovery but we were going to have to have patience and let his therapist and neurologist call the shots.

Going through part of his obstacle course was one of Connor's favorite things to do during his therapy sessions.

This is when, after discussion we knew Clinton Rice, DPT, would be the best fit for Connor. He was a young, athletic male who was passionate about his line of work and getting young kids back to their fullest potential. Connor was not happy that he had to begin therapy to be honest. His first day of therapy he said, “Mom I’m worried I won’t be as fast as I used to be.” I told him that is why we are here. Clinton is going to push you to be that fast again. I warned him from the beginning, it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be hard, you’re going to be frustrated and cry and that is OK. It means that it’s working.

AND… that is just what happened. Clinton saw potential in him from day one. He built a trusting relationship with Connor and got on a personal level with him. He learned quickly what motivated him and stuck to those avenues. He saw his drive, the areas he was really struggling with. He got a baseline on him and checked each session to see his improvements. He pushed Connor through his struggles, he saw lots of tears from a very frustrated 9 year old boy, he NEVER gave up on our son or became frustrated with him, he continued to encourage him despite his setbacks. He saw him at his weakest most frustrated moments and always focused on what he could do. Clinton was determined to get him back to where he was no matter how high the stakes were. He made each session fun for him, providing him with incentives, motivators or letting him choose how to end the session. He raced him, he challenged him on the Wii and obstacle courses. He did whatever it was going to take and did it in a positive way.

DPT Clinton Rice tosses a ball to Connor while he works to keep his balance.

He NEVER gave up on our son who was almost taken from us. He knew our need to get him back to where he was. He knew as parents are struggles with coping with a very frustrated active 9 year old. Words cannot express our gratitude towards Clinton, Katie Waehner, a student intern who was there for some of Connors sessions, and all the therapists who helped along this 3 month journey. They jumped in on obstacle courses, they ran laps with Connor, they challenged him in the Wii all to better his recovery. They invested their time and expertise towards our son and we will forever be indebted to them for such a successful recovery.

We are happy to report that Connor “graduated” from therapy on July 10, 2017, 3 months and 2 days after his accident. He is back to being a happy, energetic, baseball playing, trampoline jumping, fast running, almost 10-year-old boy. He is still under the supervision of his neurologist so is not released for fall soccer or other sports; however, we are hopeful he will continue with his recovery as his brain continues to heal.

Connor had a few things to say about his experience… “My favorite part was the obstacle courses Clinton made and playing catch with him while I balanced. I love Clinton he was so funny and nice and made therapy fun. He made me better because he really helped me with my balance so I could get back to baseball.”

Many thanks and gratitude,

Becky, Dave and Connor Moore

UPDATE** On Thursday, September 22nd, Connor's doctors released him after a long, 5 month journey. We are so excited for Connor and his family and we expect to see many great things from this very brave little boy as he grows and thrives!