Places & Faces
Milestones in Ty’s Marathon
1/1/2020 1:00:00 PM
Ty Griffen

Those who follow Ty’s Marathon on Facebook know the journey this 28-year-old has taken since his accident on June 9, 2017. Ty Griffen loves fishing. While boating, Ty hit his head on a cement bridge. The water was higher than normal due to recent rains and he raised his head at an unfortunate moment to see where they were. The injury resulted in severe head trauma. 

Given only a 0.05% chance of survival, the doctors said it would be a marathon to recovery. If anyone was up to the challenge, it was Ty’s family and friends. They rallied like a mighty army, prepared to spend the time and emotional support required to fight for his recovery. 

Ty was in a coma in Lake Charles Memorial Hospital’s ICU for three weeks. Once stable, he transferred to TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) Memorial Hermann in Houston in their Minimally Conscious Program for four months. Next, he went to the Transitional Learning Center in Galveston for five months. He was away from home a total of nine months during which he endured several surgeries and intense therapy. "We came home on Good Friday, 2018,” says Cathy Griffen, Ty’s mother.

"There are a lot of things with brain injuries that can take your breath away,” she says.
"Especially during the months of early recovery, your loved one is often not the same as they were before the accident. Ty had to learn to do everything over again. Our faith in God is carrying us through this marathon.”

In addition to several types of therapies at Hope Therapy Center and Ultimate Performance Chiropractic and Rehab, Ty began hyperbaric oxygen treatments in July 2018.  Ty’s family saw remarkable improvements through the combination of numerous treatment and therapies. "He was more aware and he began looking and acting like our Ty again,”  Cathy says.

In March 2019, Ty’s girlfriend, Taylor, said they saw outstanding improvement after Ty completed his third round of oxygen therapy. "He gave me a hug while standing up, without holding on to anyone or anything,” she says. "It was an unexpected moment that meant a lot to both me and to Ty’s recovery. Unless you go through something like this, you cannot fully grasp how something so seemingly simple can be so missed and become such a big accomplishment.”

In between the hyperbaric oxygen treatments, Ty continues Neurosage therapy at Ultimate Performance Chiropractic and Rehab along with physical, speech, and occupational therapies at Hope Therapy Center. "Hope Therapy is equipped with certified brain injury specialists, but most of all, their therapists are the most patient people on earth. Sonya (the owner of Hope Therapy) has put together such a great team,” Cathy explains. 

"Ty’s progress has been slow but steady,” says Jim Marcantel, PT, DPT, physical therapist at Hope Therapy Center. "From a physical therapy standpoint, Ty is doing better with standing, balancing, and even a little walking. In the beginning days of therapy, Ty could not remember my name. Now, not only does he remember my name, but the other day I asked him who was the quarterback for LSU and he correctly named Joe Burrow. Ty is still a sports fan!”

Behavior and demeanor have improved, too. "Due to the nature of Ty’s brain injury, his behavior can be unpredictable at times, but it is steadily improving. He is interacting better with others and is able to engage in small social contexts with cuing,” explains Jessica Wells, LOTR, MOT, occupational therapist with Hope Therapy. "He continues to improve in activities of daily living, including dressing himself, meal preparation and hygiene.”

Today, Ty stands by himself with the help of a walker. He walks with the walker, along with the assistance of two people, mostly to help his left leg get into position for each step. He has enjoyed several fishing trips and a hunting excursion in recent months. 

His short-term memory is spotty. He doesn’t always remember what he’s eaten, but "he always remembers those he grew up with,” Cathy says. "Ty has so many good friends, we’re blessed that he still has that connection. His warm and gracious personality is slowly coming back, and we’re so thankful.”

"Ty’s support system of family and friends is one of his strongest assets,” explains Ethan Hyatt, MCD, CCC-SLP speech language pathologist at Hope Therapy Center. " They have always been eager to learn about what we do in therapy and how they can implement these things at home to facilitate maximum progress. This has undoubtedly had a tremendous positive impact on Ty’s progress.”

Ty’s family is diligent with his progress at home, too. "We always send our patients home with ‘home work’ and Ty’s family goes above and beyond with making sure it gets done,” says Wells. 

As far as how much independence and mobility Ty will regain, Cathy says it’s unclear. "Every brain injury is different. You never know where you’ll go, but it’s important to stay positive and be patient.”

Posted by: Christine Fisher | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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