Left to right: Kelli Rose, occupational therapist; William Tobie; Lora Bradley, physical therapist assistant; and Megan Boudier, physical therapist assistant student

William Tobie was in a four-wheeler accident in fall 2017 that resulted in multiple fractures and an emergency surgery to remove his spleen.


He was on a ventilator for almost two months.


When Tobie came to The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee, on Jan. 8, 2018, he was off the ventilator but still needed intensive rehabilitation to get back to his prior level of function. He was wearing a thoracolumbosacral orthosis, or TLSO, a brace from his belly to his neck to stabilize his spine, and he needed help to get dressed and take the brace on and off.


Tobie also needed extensive assistance with other activities of daily living, such as bathing and managing medications, and he was on a feeding tube and liquid diet because he had difficulty swallowing. He needed help with balance and with walking and standing up.


Tobie started physical, occupational and speech therapies seven days a week.


Physical therapists worked with Tobie on his balance and mobility. Resistance bands and weights helped him rebuild strength, and exercise machines increased his endurance. He participated in balance exercises and used the OmniVR system, an interactive video gaming system designed to help rehab patients practice functional movements. Therapists also used manual therapy and Kinesio taping methods. By the end of PT, he was independent in his mobility and balance.


In occupational therapy, Tobie practiced his daily self-care tasks and improved to the point of independence as well.


Speech therapists addressed Tobie’s swallowing deficits and used laryngeal and pharyngeal exercises, as well as modified thermal tactile swallowing therapy. Over time, he was able to add more textures until he was finally able to eat normally again.


“Bill worked hard each day to achieve his therapeutic and personal goals, always presenting a positive attitude and eager to progress toward his goals,” said his therapy team.


“Therapy improved my overall strength and my balance where I’m able to walk without a cane and able to dress myself,” said Tobie. “I could not do any of this before I received therapy. I was very impressed with the facility and rehab department. It was a very loving and caring environment where I was treated like family and not a number.”


Tobie was able to remove the TLSO and returned home to his wife in February 2018.