WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – It’s another afternoon rehab for Maria Dailey’s 20-year-old son Peter.
“He’ll be 21 this April,” she said.
The two have been going to the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction on a regular basis since the holidays.
“You worked with us beyond what we expected,” said Maria.
It’s been roughly two and a half years since Peter suffered a traumatic brain injury after surviving a 30-foot fall.
“He’s a miracle in many ways,” said Maria. “He’s got a good sense of humor and that’s what keeps us going.”
Peter stayed in hospitals for seven months before returning home in May 2019. Any future physical therapy would be the responsibility of the family.
“It was a challenge. I won’t gloss it over, ”said Maria.
The Daileys have a so-called gait trainer who helps Peter walk alone. But due to its size and how it works, it can only be used outdoors.
“He’s gained ground,” said Maria. “He goes every day. Then winter struck. “
Not just winter, winter during a pandemic. Peter couldn’t use his gait trainer outside, and safety protocols and concerns made it difficult for him to find a place to use it inside. After the problem was posted on Facebook, UVAC got in touch.
“We have long, beautiful corridors. I think that might work, ”said Erin Buck of the Upper Valley Aquatic Center.
There have been 60,000 check-ins and no known cases in the building from its reopening in June through early February, according to Upper Valley Aquatic Center staff. They attribute this to their strict guidelines, including mask wear, limited capacity, spacing, and disinfection stations.
“These gave me some assurances that Peter, who cannot produce a cough like you or me, will be protected as well as possible,” said Maria.
“All of our cleaning protocols have made it a lot easier, in my opinion, to step in and get the help he clearly needs,” said Buck.
Family donations will give Peter a NuStep machine that will work on Peter’s entire body during Peter’s recovery process.
“When you have a brain injury, it is very important that the blood flow and the oxygen get into your brain to bring not only your physical self back into harmony, but also your mental abilities,” explained Maria.
While Peter works to get the mind and body working together again, this community is one step ahead in terms of working together.
“We are very grateful,” said Maria.
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