Brain Injury: Masha Melnikov's Story - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Masha Melnikov's Story

Age 14, St. Petersburg, Russia

RIC patient Masha MelnikovMasha was in St. Petersburg, Russia, visiting her grandmother and enjoying one of her favorite hobbies – horseback riding. She was in the process of stalling her horse back in the stable when she was kicked in the head and sustained a severe skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

Her father, a UN diplomat, searched the globe for the best hospital to care for his daughter. Following a comprehensive search and consultations, the choice was unanimous – RIC.

Masha came to RIC following an incredibly intensive – but successful – cranioplasty in Chicago. When she arrived she was unable to walk or speak and was barely eating, which had a direct impact on her strength. The staff on the 5th floor, RIC’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit, developed a customized program that included occupational, physical, and speech therapists all working in concert to address her needs. She was eager, energetic, and committed to regaining both her physical and cognitive abilities.

The team’s focused attention and Masha’s spirited demeanor paid off. By January 2013, just three months after starting therapy at RIC, Masha was not only walking – she was running. Her speech therapy was productive as well; she regained and was able to converse in English, Russian, and French – all languages that she had been conversant in prior to her accident.

She is now back in Cyprus where she is actively involved with her friends,
family, and academic studies.