SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras, –
Members of Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element provide physical therapy care to the Integral Rehabilitation Center of Comayagua (CRIC in Spanish), July 30.
The CRIC is a non-profit outpatient rehabilitation center, which cares for people who are recovering from various physical or mental trauma.
"I normally see between eight and 11 patients during our weekly visit," said Capt. Joshua Brooks, MEDEL's Physical Therapist officer-in- charge. "As a physical therapist, I'm an expert in movement, so I look at patient's issues and provide various exercises to restore movement or try to reduce pain levels."
During the visit, Brooks would see a wide range of disabilities, which included muscular, skeletal, neurological and multi-trauma patients. Some of the causes for their injuries were due to gunshot wounds, strokes and motorcycle accidents.
"Most people make their most gains after a neurological impairment during the first year and where they are after that period will mostly likely determine where they will remain," said Brooks. "That's if, they have the opportunity to excel, whereas some people may not have the ability to improve themselves."
Depending on the patient, Brooks used a variety of devices, which included parallel bars, an ultrasonic machine, stairs and even simple stretches.
"I have to look at the person's movement problem or limitation," said Brooks. "I then apply what I know about movement, strengths and weaknesses and come up with a creative way to benefit them. I've taken the parallel bars here to make an obstacle course or I'll use an isokinetic peanut ball and create a game for the kids to develop their balance."
The isokinetic peanut ball looks like two exercise fitness balls conjoined to look like a peanut. To help one young patient with her stability, he put the ball vertically on the floor, they would then push it back and forth toward each other and whoever didn't catch it, the other person received a point.
"I think the biggest progression I've seen in the patients is that they've captured a glimmer of hope," said Brooks. "'I can be better and I can work harder.' I think it's contagious once a patient see's and feels they've made progress. I want to relieve that self doubt that they need specialized equipment, but that they can challenge themselves everyday with simple exercises in order to better themselves."
Since beginning of the year JTF-Bravo physical therapist have assisted more than 270 patients during this medical outreach effort. This type of medical care helps JTF-Bravo solidify its partnership and cooperation efforts between the U.S. and Honduras.