Gait Lab

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We’ll take you to the Gait Lab at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility aimed at helping children recover faster and better from sports injuries.

TED SIMONS: EACH YEAR, ROUGHLY 3-MILLION CHILDREN SUFFER SOME TYPE OF INJURY PLAYING SPORTS. THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION. PHOENIX CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL HAS A NEW STATE OF THE ART GAIT LAB THAT'S GEARED TOWARD HELPING CHILDREN RECOVER FASTER AND BETTER. PRODUCER SHANA FISCHER AND PHOTOGRAPHER ROB MCJANNET TAKE US INSIDE THE LAB.

REPORTER: ELYSE GIFFORDS SPENDS MOST OF HER SATURDAYS ON THE SOCCER FIELD. THIS 13-YEAR-OLD LOVERS PLAYING WITH HER TEAMMATES BUT AN INJURY PUT HER ON THE SIDELINE.

SOUNDBITE: I LIFTED MY LEG UP, HEARD A POP, WENT DOWN AND I COULD NOT BEND IT. IT HURT.

Reporter: AT FIRST SHE WASN'T TOO CONCERNED AND NEITHER WAS HER MOM LORENA

SOUNDBITE: WE DIDN'T THINK MUCH OF IT. IT WAS SWOLLEN BUT NOT REALLY. SHE COULD WALK JUST NOT FULL PRESSURE.

Reporter: THEY SOON FOUND OUT HER INJURY WAS SEVERE. A TORN ACL. IF IT WASN'T TREATED PROPERLY ELYSE WOULD BE HANGING UP HER CLEATS FOR GOOD. DR. JEFFREY BOND IS AN ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON AT PHOENIX CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AND HER DOCTOR. AFTER REPAIRING THE TEAR HE RECOMMENDED SHE BEGIN INTENSIVE THERAPY AT PCH'S INNOVATIVE GAIT LAB.

SOUNDBITE: AT THE GIAT LAB WE ABLE TO MONITOR THE PATIENT'S MOTIONS, AND THEIR BALANCE OF THEIR MOTIONS, RECOVERY OF MOTION STRENGTH OR STRENGTH IN THE LIMBS AFTER SURGERY OR AFTER INJURY TO EVALUATE WHEN AND IF THEY ARE READY TO GO BACK TO SPORTS.

REPORTER: MOST PATIENTS BEGIN THERAPY ABOUT FOUR MONTHS AFTER SURGERY TO STOP MUSCLE ATOPHRY AND LOSS OF BALANCE.

IN GETTING THOSE FIXED OR CORRECTED AND KNOWING WE'VE CORRECTED THEM, WE THINK THIS HELPS THE PATIENT NOT REINJUR THEIR KNEE OR DECREASE THE CHANCE OF REINJURING THEIR KNEE.

Reporter: ELYSE'S THERAPISTS HOOK HER UP TO LEADS THAT MONITOR AND GIVE FEEDBACK. THE COMPUTER CREATES A 3D MODEL OF HER MOVEMENTS. DR. VAUGH SAYS THIS KIND OF TESTING HELPS PINPOINT WHERE THE PATIENT NEEDS THE MOST HELP.

SOUNDBITE: WHEN THEY COME IN WE CAN TEST THEIR QUADRICEPS, WE CAN TEST THEIR HAMSTRINGS, CORE MUSCLES, AS THEY DO CERTAIN EXERCISES IN THE LAB. USING THOSE MONITORS, WE CAN DETERMINE THE PERCENTAGES OF BALANCE, OF STRENGTH, TO BE ABLE TO SAY THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO WORK ON BEFORE YOU GET BACK TO SUPPORTS AND PREVENT INJURIES AND SAY YOU ARE READY. EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE SIX MONTH, YOU MAY HAVE ANOTHER MONTH OF EXERCISES OR YOU HAVE SIX MONTHS AND READY TO GO.

Reporter: WITH MORE AND MORE YOUNG PEOPLE ACTIVE IN COMPETITIVE SPORTS HE IS SEEING AN INCREASE IN INJURIES. 30 MILLION KIDS IN THE UNITED STATES BETWEEN 6-7 YEARS OLD PARTICIPATE IN CLUB SPORTS SO THE TECHNOLOGY AT THE LAB CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

SOUNDBITE: IT ALLOWS US TO GIVE SO MUCH BETTER CARE TO THE PATIENTS AND BETTER FEEDBACK ON WHAT THEY CAN DO TO PREVENT INJURIES. IT HAS CHANGED HOW WE CARE FOR PATIENTS.

Reporter: IT HAS BEEN ABOUT EIGHT MONTHS SINCE THE INJURY AND SHE IS BACK ON THE FIELD

SOUDBITE:I AM NOT HESITANT. I JUST GIVE IT MY ALL.

Reporter: MOM IS BACK ON THE SIDELINES CHEERING HER ON AND GRATEFUL LIKE ONLY A MOM CAN BE.

SOUNDBITE: I LEARNED HER STRENGTH AND PERSEVERANCE AND SHE TEACHES ME EVERY DAY TO BE A BETTER PERSON, TO BE GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. IF LIVE GIVES YOU LEMONS YOU MAKE LEMONADE AND JUST EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY AND YOU KEEP PUSHING FORWARD.

SOUDNBITE: PERFECT

TED SIMONS: THE GAIT LAB CAN ALSO BE USED TO HELP CHILDREN WITH MOVEMENT DISORDERS LIKE CEREBRAL PALSY AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.
TED SIMONS: WEDNESDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON, REMEMBER COMEDIAN YAKOV SMIRNOFF? HE'SHAD A CAREER SHIFT AND IS NOW HELPING COUPLES WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIPS. PLUS, WE'LL HEAR ABOUT AN EFFORT TO HELP ELIMINATE BARRIERS TO VOTING. THAT'S ON THE NEXT ARIZONA HORIZON. THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I AM TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING. "ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS. MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION, THANK YOU.

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