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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

The power of a poet

August 02, 2022

Noah Weaver has long expressed the way he feels through poetry and lyrics. But then a car accident changed the 26-year-old’s life in an instant. On May 27, 2022, Noah was involved in a car accident that caused a brain injury and required life-saving care at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. He woke up unable to walk or talk; not knowing if he would be able to remember his poetry or perform it again.

“My biggest fear was waking up and not being able to talk, or that I wouldn’t ever get my speech back to where it needed to be,” Noah said.

Noah chose Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals’ specialized brain injury program to help him get back on track. After three weeks of intense physical, occupational and speech therapy, Noah regained his ability to walk. But more importantly, found his voice again. Music and poetry are so much a part of Noah’s identity, he was eager to work on regaining the motor speech skills needed to return to the stage and performing.

“Noah conveyed to me right away that he had a passion for poetry and music and was concerned how this would affect his ability to perform, so we immediately started incorporating this into his therapy,” Rachel Lindstedt, Noah’s speech-language pathologist, said. Noah worked to regain motor speech skills during therapy sessions through the process of composing and practicing a poetic tribute dedicated to his care team at Madonna. “I began coaching Noah to self-monitor his speech for the errors. We used iPad applications to record Noah reciting some of his poems, and then had him listen to himself and identify errors that way as well to increase his awareness.”

As Noah began to produce sounds with the clarity he desired, he tried to increase the rate of his speech while still maintaining clarity. The consistent practice gave Noah the confidence and motivation he needed to perform again.

On his last day at Madonna, Noah struck a chord with his entire care team when he took center stage in the middle of Madonna’s main concourse and recited his poem in front of them all.

In the poem, he expressed his appreciation for his care team, detailing how they helped him recover. The powerful performance left all who witnessed it speechless and in tears.

“Madonna helped me get back [to] what I love,” Noah said.

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