Lexy Strong: Teen Recovers from Golf Cart AccidentPatient Experience
Aug 5, 2015
Seventeen-year-old Alexis “Lexy” Eukitis and her boyfriend Austin were taking a new golf cart for a drive. The throttle stuck and the brakes failed. They hit a fence with enough force that they were both thrown over the fence and onto the ground. Austin had minor injuries, a hyperextended knee. Lexy was not as lucky.
Lexy has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease. When she landed, she fractured her ribs, broke her left femur and fractured her neck. But the most devastating injury was a fractured thoracic vertebrae that compressed her spinal cord resulting in paralysis from the waist down.
When Lexy arrived at Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center’s trauma unit, she could not feel anything from her chest down. She had several surgeries to release the pressure on her spine and had a rod put in her femur. After a week, physicians recommended that Lexy be transferred to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville, FL for intensive rehabilitation.
Lexy and her mom Jennifer spent one month in Jacksonville, where Lexy worked hard in therapy every day. She still had no feeling in her legs, but was getting stronger. Jennifer learned how to care for Lexy once she returned home. They practiced transferring from a wheelchair to a bed, getting in and out of a shower and many more functional techniques to help Lexy become more independent. While in the rehab hospital, Lexy was not allowed to put weight on her left leg so she used a FES (functional electrical stimulation) bike to promote return of sensation and strength in her legs.
I’m going to walk again, so I’m not taking no for an answer.”
Five weeks after the accident, Lexy returned home and now attends outpatient physical and occupational therapy at Brooks Rehabilitation in Hudson. Her upper body strength continues to improve and she is now cleared to fully bear weight on her left leg. The therapy team has been focusing on intense locomotor training using an overhead harness system over a treadmill in order to promote return of muscle control in her legs. Lexy’s latest accomplishment is the ability to perform car transfers all by herself, managing her own legs and boosting into the car.
Incorporating some extra fun into rehab, her therapists went to boyfriend Austin’s house and worked with Lexy in the pool. They’ve taught both Lexy and Austin’s family how to work with her in between her therapy sessions.
Brooks Hudson Center Manager Connie Garces says, “Lexy is doing so well and has such a great attitude. Her family and Austin’s have been so supportive. Now that she’s back to full weight-bearing status, our focus is on getting her up and walking, which is omething she is determined that she will do again.”
“I’m going to walk again, so I’m not taking no for an answer,” Lexy said.