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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Technology and innovative therapies help 6-foot-6-inch-tall teen recover from spinal cord injury

December 11, 2016

Technology and innovative therapies are helping a 6-foot-6 teen recover from a spinal cord injury from Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals on Vimeo.


Lincoln, Neb. (MADONNA)--He helped Wahoo’s Bishop-Newmann High School take state in the C-1 basketball championship. Brandon Breunig was also named to the C-1 All-State football team roster. Now Brandon is taking on a new challenge after a car accident in April 2016 caused a spinal cord injury. 

At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Brandon’s height played a major factor into where he would recover. After seeing the technology involved, therapy options available and the education provided, Brandon’s parents said Madonna became the natural fit. 

He says therapy in the water helps prepare him to walk tall on land. "It’s a lot more natural than with the canes where I have to go step and then cane and then another step," says Brandon. Each step—both in water and on land— brings the senior stand-out football and basketball athlete closer to building back strength and mobility. "No cane. No walker. Just normal."

Dad says he’s come a long way in a few short weeks. This after an April 17 car accident caused a spinal cord injury.  

"When we first got him here, he couldn’t even move in bed. We had to help him roll over, get his legs up into bed from a sitting position," says Steve Breunig.

With Brandon’s height, the aquatic therapy and access to innovative equipment are reasons his parents chose Madonna for rehabilitation. "We thought this was a better place for Brandon just because of the machines," says Jill Breunig.  

Machines like the bionic suit known as the Ekso to help with shifting his weight. "I have to get my weight all the way on my right leg, step with my left, then get all the way on my left leg and step with my right." 

Day says, "don’t look by the hour or by the day, your rehab is by the week.It’s not what  did I do in an hour, it’s what did I do this week. It’s going to take some time." 

Sound advice combined with being schooled on his injury and what to expect in rehabilitation helps Brandon take it all in stride to get back where he wants to be. "Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Get up every morning and get to the gym and work as hard as you can to get back to normal. I had a week in the hospital to feel sorry for myself but now it’s time to get to work," says Brandon.