If you ever doubted the power of sheer will combined with hard work and true grit we think you will after seeing this story. Nancy Naeve Brown has the remarkable story of a Northville (just west of Mellette in NE SD) man who has almost completely recovered from a paralyzing stroke.
Throwing the perfect spiral isn't at the top of Kim Peterson's priority list. The fact that he is throwing a ball at all is practically a miracle. In June of 2009 this Northville, South Dakota man, who's only in his 50's, suffered a severe stroke.
Kim says, "I reached for a muffin and my head went down, my eyes shut but I stayed alert and was conscious the whole time. I was lucky it didn't affect my mind."
But when his brain told the right side of his body to move it did not respond. He spent 6 weeks in the hospital recovering in a wheelchair. That didn't last long though.
Kim says, "I couldn't even walk. I could do nothing. I could hang up my left arm but I had no balance."
Knowing that for the first 8 months after his stroke he couldn't open his right hand at all makes seeing him play catch all the more impressive. Kim worked tirelessly with Avera St. Luke's Occupational Therapist Buck Norris for a year plus a personal trainer at the YMCA to get this far.
Buck Norris, OT says, "He's a good student. He has a problem you want to have. There is such a thing as overdoing it. No pain, no gain is not always the best philosophy. I would rather have that problem and have to hold them back then have to push them to do something. It takes a lot of patience on both parts. What I usually end up telling people and I told Kim this because Kim is always in a hurry, always in a hurry. Everyone is in a hurry, but the fact is recovery is never fast enough for anyone. If they recover in 6 months, they wish it would have been 3 months."
Kim made it very clear to Buck that he didn't want to cheat any of the movements. Like when he would shake someone's hand often times it's easier to move your shoulder up, but he didn't want to do that. Instead he works to life his whole arm up to meet the other person's hand.
Norris says, "Doing things correctly. That was really important to him. He didn't want to walk around and be identifiable physically as a stroke victim that was really important to him to learn how to regain those normal movements."
Kim says, "I have one piece of the puzzle left. My ankle needs to be more active and quicker. I hope by next spring to be running again.
Kim's already proven if he wants something badly enough, he will work hard enough to get it. And boy does he deserve it!
Kim has no intention of letting up on therapy and rehab. He started in an acceleration training program in August.