Rashaad Bryan was just 18 years old when he had a stroke that left him blind in his right eye and unable to use the left side of his body. The Queens native was an inpatient at Burke, where he received speech, physical and occupational therapy. Today, the 20-year-old is a college junior studying psychology and is the captain of the men’s swim team.
We caught up with Rashaad to ask him a few questions about his time at Burke:
Why were you at Burke?
I diagnosed with a stroke on August 31, 2013. I was left with no motion on the left side of my body and blind in my right eye. I was 18 years old at the time. I was admitted into LIJ hospital on the morning of August 31 and was sent to Burke on September 5 to receive further treatment.
What was the experience like for you?
I was given occupational therapy to work on hand my strength, physical therapy to work on my leg and hip strength and speech therapy to work on my memory, thinking process, etc. I actually had to eat double portions since the regular portions weren’t enough to satisfy me. In the recreation room, I got to play card games and chess and had the most fun. My family and friends came to visit me—that so many people came to see me gave me hope and made me feel loved.
What were your thoughts about your injury before arriving at Burke? Did your time here change that?
Before arriving at Burke, I was very lazy, and was unhappy with my condition. I didn't know what to expect from Burke. In the past, when I had scrapes and bruises, I would heal quickly, so I thought my injury would heal quickly too. I really wanted to go back to school. As time passed, my attitude started to change. I was happier about life and was making progress with all my areas of therapy. At the end, I was able to walk slowly down the hallway with little assistance. I was also able to open and close my hand and my memory was so much better.
Would you recommend Burke to others? And if so, why?
I would recommend the Burke to others. Why? Two reasons: 1. When I was still in hospital, the son of the man I was rooming with sat on the edge of the bed and told my family to send me to Burke. He was in the stroke unit because his father had also had a stroke. As the man was telling my family and me his story, I looked at his wife next to him. Tears were coming down her face and she was nodding her head. The man had been in the same position I was looked like nothing happened to him. I believed him about Burke. 2. I loved the environment at Burke— everyone was friendly and everyone was treated fairly. The therapists were fair and weren't too hard on you. If you have an injury, I recommended going to Burke.
How are you doing now?
I left Burke on September 26, 2013. I would say that by the time I left, I had gained about a 50 percent increase in movement on the left side of my body—which is amazing since I was only there for 3 weeks. A week later, I went to a small outpatient rehabilitation center in Nassau County near my home. I finished there in January 2014 and gained about 25–30% more movement. That same month I was also able to drive again and go back to school from my spring semester (January-May 2014) I was able to pass my lifeguard test in June 2014 for my fourth year as a summer lifeguard.
I am currently a junior working on my bachelor's degree in psychology. I am captain of the men's swim team at my school and an assistant scoutmaster for my Boy Scout troop. I would say I am 97-98 percent physically and mentally better. I work out every week. I look back at my past experiences and I just say that I am blessed.
Did you or someone you know have a great experience at Burke? We want to hear about it! Visit our Centennial microsite at www.burke.org/100years and share your success story. Follow the link for additional details on how to submit your story and a photo.