Matts Progress

**Update - 06/02/10**

Matt has been home for almost two months now and is doing well. The first 2-3 weeks were spent figuring out the daily routine and what each day would be like. Matt has been very patient with his parents! He has a steady stream of visitors and it is a great pick me up for him.
 He is having tutors come in three times a week to catch him up on his school work and he attends physical therapy at Journey Forward twice a week for 2 hours each day - - He loves it and the athlete in him sees it as a workout. The work they do there is fantastic. He will soon move to three days a week and we know it will do wonders for him. His left arm continues to show the most progress and he can now flip hi hand so that the palm points skyward. He has said he has some sensation in his feet and left knee and we hope that this is a sign of more good things to come. 
He went to the Red Sox game and met Jason Veritek and Big Papi and it was a big thrill, we thank Children's Hospital and the Red Sox for making it happen. We were also invited to attend the Black Belt Ceremony for Personal Best Karate and had a great time - they had a Kick-A-Thon to raise money for Matt and we thank them for their generosity and support. 
We fire up his computer each week and go through his site to show him all of the support he is getting and we thank all of you for your continued thoughts and wishes for him. We'll continue to send updates to keep you informed as to his progress. 
Thanks to all of you! 
Matt, Kelley, Sue and Michael Brown

**Update - 05/05/10**
Hello everyone! It’s moving day! We celebrated Matt’s graduation from Shepherd Center yesterday and will be departing Atlanta today and heading home to Norwood! Matt is very excited to get back home and can not wait to see family and friends! It has been an incredible 11 weeks here and Matt continues to work hard on his recovery. He will continue to work on his rehabilitation once he gets home and we look forward to many visitors!
Our thanks to the great people here in Atlanta and especially the staff at the Shepherd Center! They have given Matt a great start on his recovery and we are forever grateful to them for their amazing care of our son. He is ready for the next phase of this journey and we will continue to keep everyone updated as to his progress.
Thank you to all of you for your continued prayers and support of Matt! See you soon!
Michael, Susan, Kelley and Matt Brown

 **Update - 04/22/10**

We now are in our 9th week at the Shepherd Center and Matt continues to show progress in his rehabilitation. Over the last three weeks he has had a steady stream of visitors in addition to celebrating his 16th Birthday on April 11th. He has had cousins, aunts and uncles, friends and his Grandfather make the trip to Atlanta and these visits are a great source of strength and inspiration for Matt. He feeds off the visits from friends and family and the results are obvious. I wish you could all see in person how far Matt has come in such a short time. He has been eating constantly and that has made him much stronger and getting stronger has allowed to him to breathe more and more on his own. I am happy to report that just last night matt slept through the night breathing on his own and he is very close to getting off the vent for good and having his traech removed! A huge step forward! In addition, because he is eating so well, they are getting ready to remove his G-tube (feeding tube)!

Most important is his mindset. It has been amazing to see the change in his focus on his situation. He has moved away from the shock and sadness of his situation and is focused on his recovery. His personality, sense of humor and demeanor are back and he is so full of energy each day. He has said "he will fight everyday" to get better and that "he will skate again"! His determination, strength and resolve are truly inspiring! We are so proud of him!

One exciting piece of news - Bobby Farrelly (Director of Dumb and Dumber, Something About Mary, Fever Pitch) and his Co-Producer Kris Meyer , both Boston guys) stopped in to see Matt on his Birthday. They are in Atlanta filming their new movie Hall Pass with Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer and Chistina Appelgate. During their visit they invited Matt to come to the set. So this past Monday we traveled to the set and they used Matt as an extra in one of the scenes. Matt will be in the movie and be listed in the credits. Matt had such a great day and the Farrely Brothers, Kris and the entire crew could not have been more gracious to us. A big thrill for all of us and our thanks to them for their generosity!(see picture)

We'll keep you posted on Matt's progress and please continue to keep Matt in your prayers! 


April 2, 2010   

The last three weeks have been very busy for Matt. He continues to work with his therapists on getting stronger and he has shown some good progress. He is eating more and getting stronger and we continue to focus on getting as many calories into him every day. Their goal is to get him taking in 1500 calories a day and we are up to around 800-900 per day. It is important to “feed the engine” as this will give him more energy and allow him to get the most out of his therapy sessions. His therapy team has now detected muscle movement in both his left and right biceps, his left wrist and just this past Wednesday picked up more muscle activity in his deltoids. These small steps are very encouraging. This along with him feeling better and getting stronger has led to the Shepherd Center team to push back his discharge date into May, a good sign.

Matt has had many visitors over the last few weeks. A group of his friends came down from Boston and spent the weekend with him. On St. Patrick’s Day Marty Reasoner, a hockey player for the Atlanta Thrashers (and former Boston College player) came to visit Matt, along with Thrash, the Thrasher’s mascot. The team invited Matt to their game against the Boston Bruins. (more on that shortly). Friday the 19th of March was a beautiful day in Atlanta and Matt was able to go outside for a few hours. It was a beautiful day and Matt was thrilled to let the sun beat down on him. It was so great to see him smile and for the first time since his accident, really happy! That weekend his girlfriend visited him and it was great for his spirits.

On Monday, Patrice Bergeron (see picture) from the Boston Bruins came by and spent almost an hour with Matt. He brought a gift bag with many items and even brought his gold medal from the Olympics, quite a thrill. Bergeron is the personification of class and the time spent with Matt was very special. We attended the game on Tuesday night and had a wonderful time. Matt invited 2 other patients from his floor and along with several staff and his parents, were hosted by the Thrashers in a sky box to watch the Bruins win! Our thanks to both the Thrashers and Bruins for their efforts.

This week Matt has additional visitors, both family and friends and has more energy than I have seen since the accident. He continues to amaze with his strength and no matter how bad he feels some days he participates in all therapy sessions! We hope that the month of April brings more success!

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and interest in Matt and please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers!     Michael

March 17, 2010

It has been just over three weeks since Matt arrived in Atlanta and the Shepherd Center to begin his rehabilitation. It was apparent from the first day that we are in the right place for Matt. Within an hour of his arrival they had him working his TV and had a nurse call button using sip and puff technology - establishing independence for him. The next day he was up in a powered wheelchair and can control his sitting position and drive it himself using the same technology. The staff of doctors, nurses and therapists have been great and Matt said he likes it here. 

He is settling into a daily routine of physical therapy and occupational therapy, as well as diet, speech and counseling. The focus is healing both his body and his mind and they do it well. These last three weeks have been an emotional ride for Matt. The enormity of his situation has hit him and being away from friends and family has been tough. Those are the toughest times for Sue and me, where he is struggling emotionally and as a parent you want to make him better. But he bounces back and continues to show great strength each day and is working hard. He is up each morning at 7:30, gets dressed and up in his chair and starts his work. He was up in his chair for 10 hours yesterday, a new personal best!

Some exciting news from last week - during PT the therapist felt slight muscle movement in his left bicep and his left wrist! Slight but definitely there! They will continue his daily sessions and we hope to report more good news in the coming weeks.

Matt also had 7 of his friends come down from Boston this weekend and it was a huge pick me up! We left the boys together and they talked and laughed for almost 4 hours - nothing like your buddies to pick you up!

I'll update again shortly and thanks to all for you prayers and support!


2/23/2010: Sue Brown

Hi all, Matt's mom again.... Matt moved to Atlanta last Wednesday (2/17/10). He has settled in nicely. He was originally in the ICU but has since been moved to a "regular" rehab floor. They have had Matt out of bed for extended periods of time and he has also spent increasing periods of time off the respirator. Baby steps to recovery!!

2/20/10 - Hello from Atlanta. 

Our thanks to the men and women of Medflight who brought Matt to Atlanta - Boston Air Charter, you ROCK! Matt is in the ICU here at Shepherd Center and will stay until Monday. He will then transfer to the regular floor and begin his PT routine. He has told us he likes it and the people we have met and the Doctors and Nurses who are caring for him are fantastic. Most of the focus has been on diet(getting solid food into Matt's diet) and breathing. He has been up in a wheelchair for 2 hours, been breathing on his own for up to 45 minutes and has been introduced to "sip and puff" controls.  Thanks to all! 

Michael, Sue, Matt and Kelley


2/15/2010: Mike and Sue Brown

Last Friday Matt had a tracheostomy and the surgery went well. This procedure allows matt to continue to work on his breathing but more importantly allows him to be transferred to the Shepherd Center Rehabilitation center in Atlanta to begin his recovery. The Shepherd Center is regarded as one of the finest rehabilitation centers in the country and have a tremendous recovery history for spinal cord patients. In addition they focus on adolescents and there will be other teenagers who have suffered spinal cord injuries there, so he will be working along side other kids his age. This will be so important for Matt, to see kids his own age and interact with his peers during his recovery. They specialize in full rehabilitation, so will work on both his physical and mental recovery and also work with Sue and me to help us prepare for caring for Matt when he comes home.

Matt will be in Atlanta for at least 2 months and as you can imagine, he is anxious about moving to the center. It is a great unknown to a 15 year old and it is also 1500 miles away from his friends and family. We will be with him for the first week of his stay and my wife will relocate to Atlanta to be with him every step of the way. We know he will be in good hands at Shepherd and look forward to the next phase in his long journey.

The last 9 days have been filled with more Physical Therapy, breathing therapy and many visitors. In addition to the steady stream of family and friends, Matt was visited by Jerry York, head coach of Boston College hockey, Jack Parker, head coach of Boston University hockey and his three captains, two of the members of the Boston rock band The Drop Kick Murphy’s and Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque. As you can tell from the picture, quite a thrill for a young hockey player (and truth be told a sports minded Dad!). Matt’s most uplifting visitor was from a young man named John Gilpatrick. John was a Suffolk University hockey player who suffered a C6 vertebra injury during a hockey game in 1996 and was paralyzed from the neck down. It took John 5 years but he is fully recovered and is now walking and playing golf. And while we don’t know what Matt’s outcome will be, the inspiration and hope we take from John, that miracles do happen and that anything is possible, reinforces or hope, our faith and belief that Matt will one day walk again.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that I, along with my wife Sue, my daughter Kelley and most of all Matt, are forever grateful for your continued support, thoughts and prayers for Matt. The outpouring of support from friends, family, the Town of Norwood and the hockey community continues to amaze and humble us. While we sometimes wonder if we deserve all of this, we are firm in our belief that Matt most certainly does!

My best to all of you and please keep Matt in your prayers!

Michael and Sue