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When Tony Gradle fell, he fractured his right leg.


Dr. Carl Hollmann, an orthopaedic surgeon from the Tier 1 Institute in Cookeville, Tennessee, performed Gradle’s surgery and put his leg in a cast, and on May 13, Gradle arrived at Life Care Center of Crossville, Tennessee, for rehabilitation.


At first, Gradle couldn’t put any weight on his right leg while it healed, which hampered his mobility. He required assistance with all of his functional tasks, from getting in and out of bed to getting dressed and grooming himself. He also had some difficulty with cognition and memory.


Six days a week, physical, occupational and speech therapists worked with Gradle to help him increase his independence. Physical therapists focused on strengthening and mobility, often using resistance exercises and the Omnicycle, an exercise bicycle that includes hand cranks to work out the full body while seated. Occupational therapists retrained him in his activities of daily living. Speech therapists taught him skills to improve his memory and thought processes.


“My therapists insisted that I keep pushing myself,” said Gradle. “They were so motivating that I was up and about in no time.”


When Gradle went back to Dr. Hollmann to get his cast removed, the physician said, “It looks great. X-rays look good. Now finish your therapy.”


And finish he did. Gradle was ready to work on walking and stair climbing, which he was able to master to the point of needing supervision instead of active assistance. He was able to transfer himself from one surface to another independently and continue his OT to the point where he was mostly independent in his self-care.


During his stay, Gradle even taught one of the activities assistants and several fellow patients how to play cribbage.


Gradle returned home on June 30, and it was not long before he returned to the building as a visitor, bringing more cribbage sets for others to use and enjoy.