Spinal Cord Injury: Martrell Stevens' Story - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Martrell Stevens' Story

Age 10, Chicago, IL

RIC patient Martrell StevensMartrell Stevens was just 5 years old when he was hit by a stray bullet while sleeping in his mom’s car on the south side of Chicago. The bullet entered his side and went through his back, puncturing a lung and causing damage to his spinal cord. He was paralyzed and couldn’t move from the waist down. He underwent surgery to remove the bullet and was then transferred to RIC’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit.

When he arrived at RIC, he couldn’t walk or sit up by himself, and was healing from the traumatic injuries he sustained. His doctors and care team developed a customized plan for Martell that included daily physical and occupational therapy, and he was soon able to re-establish his strength and mobility. RIC’s unique robotic walking therapy, on a robot called the Lokomat, also helped Martrell improve. In fact, Martrell improved so much that he was able to walk across the stage at his kindergarten graduation using a walker.

“I would recommend RIC to anyone,” said Martrell’s mother LeKeesha Rickers. “They are the best. They don’t give up on you. They have helped Martrell so much.”

Now 10 years old, Martrell has continued to benefit from RIC’s outpatient care to help him make improvements, enabling him to lead an active life. Through RIC’s Sports and Recreation programs, Martrell plays basketball, softball, and attends a number of camps and programs to try new sports. “He loves sports,” said LaKeesha. “That’s a big part of his life.”