Success Story: Ricky Wilson
A VitalStim™ Therapy Success Story
Jockey Ricky Wilson knows all about "odds." His winning record
has been considered a major component in determining racing odds for decades.
On May 8, 2004, horrified racing fans at Pimlico Race Track witnessed Wilson’s
odds for survival crash, when his horse fell while coming out of the gate, throwing
Wilson forward. As they both tried to get up, the horse bolted, clipped Wilson
in the head, and caused critical head and neck injuries.
After life-saving surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock
Trauma Center, he underwent two months of intense inpatient rehabilitation at
Kernan Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Wilson then began a daily outpatient
rehabilitation program close to his home. Life was returning to normal for the
jockey, except for one major activity and pleasure….eating by mouth. The
massive injuries had left Wilson with a pharyngeal swallowing disorder. Because
of this, he received all of his nutrition through a feeding tube, inserted directly
into his stomach.
Wilson’s outpatient speech/language pathologist had heard of a relatively
new technique for remediation of swallowing disorders. It involved using electrical
stimulation to activate the swallowing muscles. VitalStim™ had recently
been approved by the FDA. Together, Wilson and his speech/language pathologist
found the only outpatient location in Maryland at the time to offer this therapy
with certified clinicians was Kernan Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. And the
rest is history….
Wilson began an intensive VitalStim™ program at Kernan’s Outpatient
NeuroRehabilitation Program in July 2004. After only twelve sessions, a modified
barium swallowing test revealed that Wilson was able to swallow all foods and
liquids safely. His feeding tube was soon removed and Ricky and his wife Jean
celebrated by going to a restaurant for dinner.
One year after the racing accident, the Wilsons returned to Kernan to thank
their speech/language pathologist, Linda Miller. The Wilson’s agree, “You
don’t realize how important swallowing is until you can’t swallow.”
Thanks to VitalStim™ and Ricky Wilson’s determination, he now can
eat normally and enjoy the pleasures of food.
For more information or to schedule an appointment,
This page was last updated: April 27, 2015