Injured Soldier Receives Hero's Send-Off - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on June 29, 2007

Injured Soldier Receives Hero's Send-Off

Sgt. Eric Edmundson Walks Out of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Sgt. Eric Edmundson, RIC Therapists and Family

After Six Months of Rehabilitation,
Sgt. Eric Edmundson Walks
Toward Family and Friends for
the First Time

Articles in the Media About Sgt. Eric Edmundson

ABC News (opens new window)

In a ceremony held today, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) celebrated the reunion of Sergeant Eric Edmundson with his wife and two-and-a-half- year-old daughter after six months of intensive rehabilitation therapy for a traumatic brain injury suffered in Iraq. When Sgt. Edmundson first arrived at RIC, he was unable to walk, communicate or eat on his own. Today, in celebration with notable dignitaries including Mayor and Mrs. Daley and Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, Sgt. Edmundson achieved his goal to walk out of the hospital to greet members of his family from around the country.

“It is an honor and a privilege for RIC to serve Sgt. Edmundson and other Military Heroes with the nation’s best in rehabilitation care,” said Dr. Joanne C. Smith, president and CEO of RIC. “Sgt. Edmundson’s walk out of our Chicago hospital today represents a triumph for a heroic young man and a beacon of hope for the future for other severely injured service men and women.”

Sgt. Edmundson was injured on October 2, 2005 when an IED exploded underneath the Stryker vehicle he was driving near the Syrian border of Iraq. After receiving acute, military care in Germany and in the United States, Sgt. Edmundson came to RIC and was admitted for acute inpatient rehabilitation. With the support and guidance of RIC physicians and therapists, Sgt. Edmundson began to set goals for himself that would allow for his greatest quality of life, approaching therapy with a courageous attitude and Army-Strong will. Physical therapists worked with Sgt. Edmundson to regain his ability to eat, communicate through assistive technology and eventually walk.

Recently, RIC was designated as an approved provider of rehabilitation services for U.S. military personnel with severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury by TRICARE, the organization that administers health benefits for military veterans. TRICARE has contracted with the managed care program Health Net Federal Services (Health Net) to arrange for the care of U.S. military personnel at RIC.

About The RIC Brain Injury Medicine and Rehabilitation Program

The Institute utilizes a unique care-team approach that taps the deep experience and expertise of each team member’s professional skill set, including nursing, physical/occupational/speech therapies and physiatry. Additionally, RIC:

  • Integrates cognitive rehabilitation – addressing memory, problem solving, abstract thinking, self-awareness, attention and concentration challenges – into the framework of its overall care program and into the training of all care staff.
  • Brings cutting-edge, evidence-based practices to the bedside, uniting various models to maximize impact. An example of such innovation is utilizing medical agents and baclofen pumps for spasticity management, in conjunction with serial casting to improve positioning and specialized range-of-motion exercises to maximize recovery.
  • Specializes in the latest assistive devices that help people with disabilities put the power of computers to work. The RIC Technology Center focuses on three areas: communication, computers and environment. Through technology, such as message boards and computer systems with synthesized speech, RIC helps people with disabilities find their voices, control their environment and communicate freely with the world.
  • Treats all categories of acquired brain injury including: anoxic brain injury; traumatic brain injury; closed head injuries; concussions; brain tumor; disease entities and metabolic disorders that lead to brain injury.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is dedicated to helping people with all levels and types of physical disabilities live a fulfilling life. U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIC the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” every year since 1991. RIC operates a flagship hospital in Chicago as well as a network of DayRehabCenters and outpatient centers located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. It also maintains strategic alliances with other healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and north central Indiana. For more information, visit the RIC Web site at

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