Tyler's story

Patient smiling with therapists
Patient riding skateboard in physical therapy

Tyler 'Ty' Hall's life took an unexpected turn when he was hospitalized for a rare thyroid complication that led to a life-threatening situation. Ty couldn’t move and had severe weakness in all his extremities. He remembered having a friend take him to the hospital because he was short of breath but did not remember anything after that. Ty was diagnosed with thyrotoxicosis due to excessive thyroid hormone in his body. During a 46-day stay at Cooper University Hospital he was placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks.

“I couldn’t talk, couldn’t move, had a tube in my throat and it kind of freaked me out,” Ty said. Before being hospitalized, he was single, lived with two roommates, had a lifelong love of skateboarding and was just getting ready to start a new job.

“I thought I wasn’t going to get my life back—that was my biggest fear,” he confessed. Once he was medically stable, his physicians recommended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program to help him regain his mobility and independence.

When Ty arrived at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (KIR) - Marlton, he could only shrug his shoulders and required assistance for even the simplest tasks. He was also suffering from anxiety. His physician-led rehabilitation team worked with Ty to put a treatment plan in place that included physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Ty was dependent on two caregivers for bed-level activities of daily living (ADL) and required a Hoyer lift and team of three to transfer out of bed. Despite the challenges he faced, Ty made steady progress. Each day, new movements in various muscles emerged and his head control and core strength improved.

Ty achieved daily victories, from performing morning ADL routines with supervision to the seemingly simple task of drinking water from a cup unassisted. Ty’s therapists were amazed by his perseverance.

Ty was also visited by the neuropsychology team and participated in group yoga to help with some of the anxiety he was experiencing.

He quickly went from being reliant on a power wheelchair with adapted controls to using an ultra-lightweight manual wheelchair. With the guidance of his therapists, he started to walk short distances using a rolling walker.

Ty grew more confident. While using the rolling walker was an accomplishment, Ty had his mind on another set of wheels—his skateboard. Understanding the emotional significance of this goal, Ty's team at KIR-Marlton worked together to make it happen. A week before his scheduled discharge, Ty was back on a skateboard, supported by his physical therapist!

When asked about how he made his way through such a difficult journey, Ty said: "I am stubborn and don't give up. I got out of bed every day, even when I didn't want to. Participating in therapy was tough, but it was all worth it."

Ty also leaned on his support system. Their encouragement and belief in his strength motivated his recovery. “I wouldn’t be this far without my therapists, my mom and my friends,” he said.