Hear Asa's story,
as featured on KS95 For Kids.
Asa is a good-natured youngster who enjoys riding his bike, playing video games, and who hopes someday to play professional football for the Minnesota Vikings. A talkative youngster, Asa has an impressively large vocabulary and loves interacting with peers and adults alike.
At 16 months, Asa was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy that primarily affects his legs. He's been coming to Gillette ever since for physical and occupational therapy and botulinum toxin injections, which help relieve tightness in his legs.
Cool and Collected
After a recent growth spurt, Asa - whom doctors estimate will reach 6'7''- was experiencing increased tightening of his leg muscles, which made walking difficult. Findings from an examination at Gillette's Center for Gait and Motion Analysis revealed that, without surgery, he might need a wheelchair as a young adult. This fall, Asa had a surgery called a selective dorsal rhizotomy, in which spinal nerves are cut to relieve muscle tightness.
Asa's mother, Marci, worried that her son might be nervous before the complex surgery. Instead, she says he was "remarkably settled" before his operation. "The doctors were wonderful about interacting with Asa on his level," she says. "He understood the surgery so well that he even explained it to his classmates!"
A Contagiously Positive Outlook
After surgery, Asa underwent an intensive rehabilitation program to relearn skills such as sitting, standing and walking without his former level of muscle tightness. Asa did so well that he was discharged two weeks ahead of schedule.
During Asa's hospital stay, says Marci, "He had a talented team of nurses and physical therapists challenging him every day." Staying motivated was never a problem for Asa, who made visible progress through hours of rehabilitation therapy. It didn't hurt that Asa's father, David, promised him a father-son Vikings game when he came home.
Asa's determination rubbed off on others, too. During his hospital stay, Asa made friends with another boy his age who also was recovering from surgery. The duo enjoyed "ambushing" nurses with Nerf blasters. On Asa's first night home, he called his buddy at the hospital. "Asa told him, 'Keep working hard and do whatever they tell you' - then he asked how the Nerf war was going," says Marci. "His attitude rubs off on others."