Omaha firefighter credits Madonna for help battling back after bull riding injury

Omaha firefighter credits Madonna for help battling back after bull riding injury

"Name three fruits that start with the letter p," said Ky'Lee Baumert, PT, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.

"Pineapple. Plantain," said Tom Bartek, a brain injury survivor. 

"She’ll give me a list of objects to work my mind. I'm a firefighter but on my days off I like to ride bulls. I had a bull riding accident. Evidently the bull and I kind of hit heads. I figured if I was going to do it and get hurt, I wanted to have a good cause," said Tom.

"That's probably been the best part of this journey is helping other people and seeing so many other people make generous donations," said Tom.

"When you have a brain injury, things are not going to go as fast as you thought they were. Everything changes," said Tom.

"With any activity that we’re doing we usually incorporate some kind of cognitive motor, dual-task, trying to get him to do two-things at once," said Ky'Lee.

"The ICARE is great. You can adjust the stride length so you can kind of customize it for each patient to make it more of their normalized walking. That left side is just a little bit weaker so we're kind of focusing more on that left left and trying to get that knee straight. So,  Building stamina. Building endurance. Working on that cardiovascular fitness. All of those things that go into being a firefighter," said Ky'Lee. 

"You gotta focus on the little achievements you can make. Doing this. It seems small and it’s very simple but it’s a big deal for me and Ky’Lee," said Tom. 

"Push a little bit more," said Ky'Lee.

"A big thank you out to Madonna and the staff members. Everybody. From the nurses to the doctors to the physical therapists to the people in the cafeteria. Everybody is super nice,  helpful, professional. I just want to be able to get back to wife and kids and get on with my regular life and my career as a firefighter. I need to get back on the fire truck and helping people and the public," said Tom.

"So we just want to recognize you for all of your hard work and a job well done," said Cindy Hackwell, social worker at Madonna.

"Just know that they will help you here, they will make you get better and they’ll do it with a lot of kindness and compassion," said Tom.

Learn more about Madonna's individualized brain injury program.  

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