Ethan dealt with memory loss after suffering a traumatic brain injury in an ATV accident. Cognitive therapy helped him improve.

At 18 years old, Ethan experienced a traumatic brain injury — the result of a brain bleed after an ATV accident. Flown to UPMC Presbyterian and later transferred to UPMC Montefiore, Ethan underwent many surgeries and was treated by a variety of health care providers.

But memory loss was the biggest challenge he faced.

In the hospital for 12 days, Ethan only remembered two of them. Memory loss kept him from driving and hanging out with friends, and it created challenges when talking to others. He also couldn’t continue his welding career.

When Ethan’s mother, Hillary, began seeing a psychologist for guidance, she learned about UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS). Care options offered by CRS include memory loss and cognitive rehabilitation programs.

Ethan was referred to UPMC Centers for Rehab Services – Cranberry, located at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township. There, he could receive cognitive therapy as well as physical therapy and occupational therapy to help him with motions and moving properly.

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Regaining Independence and Function

Marissa Vetica, MS, a certified speech language pathologist, was Ethan’s speech therapist. She also put together exercise programs to address his cognitive linguistic functions, including:

  • Attention.
  • Memory.
  • Shape recognition skills.
  • Problem solving and reasoning.

“I can’t say enough about Marissa,” Hillary says. “She knew what was going on with him before he even knew. She knew exactly what he was going through and how to treat his memory.”

According to Ethan and his mother, he developed a special connection with Marissa. She explained things in a way Ethan understood which reassured him that he would recover. Soon after starting therapy with Marissa, Hillary noticed her son’s attitude change completely.

“Marissa pushed Ethan in the right direction,” Hillary says.

Ethan’s mental status began to improve. Six months after the accident, he was cleared to drive again. He now works in lawn care while rebuilding the skills and strength to get back to his welding career.

According to Ethan, it’s important to always stay positive and keep moving forward.

“Marissa is amazing and helped me a lot,” he says.

“I’m so grateful for Marissa and the care my son received from the beginning,” Hillary says. “She helped him regain some of his independence and start getting back to normal, and I can’t thank her enough.”

CRS in Cranberry Township

The UPMC Centers for Rehab Services, located at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, offers free on-site parking and is handicap accessible. Services at CRS in Cranberry Township include:

  • Amputee program.
  • Aquatic therapy.
  • Balance therapy.
  • Blood flow restriction.
  • Certified hand therapy.
  • Limb loss program-lower extremity.
  • Lymphedema management.
  • Men’s health.
  • Neurological therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Speech therapy.
  • Sports rehab programs.
  • Women’s rehab program.

To learn more about UPMC Centers for Rehab Services or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-723-4277 or visit our website.

About UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.