| Snowboarder rebounds after brain injury From Spotlight on Health - Fall 2010
Robert Uldrych has no memory of his snowboarding accident Feb. 28 or the days that followed as he recovered from a traumatic brain injury in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Cloud Hospital.
Julie, Robert’s mom, is able to recount each moment, from the phone call explaining Robert had been in an accident, to the excruciating car ride from their home in Cokato to St. Cloud Hospital, to waiting for the results of a Magnetic Resonance Angiogram.
“Waiting and wondering if his blood vessels were severed in the back of his head was the longest half hour of my life,” Julie said.
Robert Uldrych, now age 15, and mom, Julie,
share a moment together at their home in Cokato.
Miraculously the vessels were intact. But the impact of hitting a tree left Robert with a broken shoulder blade, a fractured skull dangerously close to the brain stem and brain bleeds on the rear and front of the brain.
Julie, a medical technologist for 28 years, understood the significance of the injury. The first night the doctor and nurse were a constant presence in the room.
“They were great, constantly checking on Robert,” Julie said.
For the first three days, Robert was in a coma. The turning point came when his godmother visited, prompting Robert to smile and open his eyes. Within 10 days, Robert began inpatient physical therapy after an assessment by Gregory Schlosser, MD, a physiatrist at St. Cloud Hospital. Dr. Schlosser outlined a rigorous schedule to improve Robert’s motor skills and fully regain the ability to walk and care for himself.
Robert’s goal was less significant. “I just want to get my sense of taste and smell back,” Robert said. Just four days after beginning therapy, Robert was able to go home.
While on the surface Robert has recovered, challenges remain. As with many head injuries, Robert suffers from Frontal Lobe Syndrome, causing him to be less patient and more prone to agitation, said Lynn Miller, DO, the pediatric neurosurgeon who cared for Robert while in the hospital.
“Fortunately, children are very resilient. Brain injuries have been shown to continue to heal even years after an accident,” Dr. Miller said.
“I am so thankful he is in one piece and is doing as well as he is,” Julie said.