Brain Injury Program Medical Director
Stuart A. Yablon, M.D.
Dr. Yablon is medical director of Mary Free Bed’s Brain Injury Program. He is board-certified in both brain injury medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation. Dr. Yablon’s special interests include neurobehavioral and neuromedical complications of acquired brain injury, including syndromes of impaired consciousness, spasticity and related motor disorders, seizure disorders and venous thromboembolic disease. He has extensive experience in non-traumatic acquired brain injury, particularly in the care of patients with hemorrhagic stroke, and brain tumor. He joined Mary Free Bed in 2019.
He’s a graduate of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and completed his residency in PM&R at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/New Jersey School of Medicine (now Rutgers New Jersey Medical School), where he served as academic chief resident. He completed a Rehabilitation Research Career Development Fellowship with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine, specializing in brain injury rehabilitation.
Dr. Yablon has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles that have been published in scientific journals. He also has given numerous invited presentations at national and international medical conferences.
Your nursing team includes registered nurses, who have additional rehabilitation and wound care certification, as well as nurse technicians. Our nurses specialize in rehab nursing; whether it’s mid-day or the middle of the night, you can count on your nursing staff to:
• Provide competent, compassionate medical and personal care
• Educate you and your family regarding the impact of your injury on bodily functions
• Empower you and your family on how to become as independent as possible by teaching you techniques on how to best manage medications and care
Your occupational therapists (OTs) focus on helping you resume independence with “activities of daily living” (ADLs), which range from brushing your teeth and getting dressed to preparing meals and grocery shopping. Additionally, your OTs will:
• Evaluate and improve your strength, coordination, dexterity and muscle tone
• Increase your level of independence by showing you new ways to do daily activities
• Issue and/or fabricate adaptive equipment
• Evaluate your home or worksite and provide recommendations for increased accessibility
Your physical therapists evaluate your mobility and level of independence and then provide rehabilitation to:
• Strengthen muscles, build endurance and improve balance
• Help you move and transfer to and from surfaces (bed, furniture, car, wheelchair)
• Assess your need for specialized equipment (hospital bed, bathroom equipment, wheelchair, leg braces, walker) and help you choose what you need
• Train your family and caregivers on how to best assist you
If your balance has been affected, we have a ceiling-mounted ambulation track system to help you with mobility. Your physician may also order therapy on our Lokomat and your physical therapists will help you on this sophisticated, robot-assisted walking technology.
Rehabilitation psychologists may play a big role in your recovery. For brain injury patients they’re available to:
• Evaluate your memory, vocational and educational potential and suggest treatments
• Provide psychotherapy, family therapy and family support if necessary to help you and your family with adjustment issues you’ll likely face
• Counsel you about depression, which is common after a brain injury
• Work closely with your physician to determine your need for medication adjustment as it pertains to mood, pain or cognition
A registered dietitian will:
• Evaluate your nutritional needs
• Explain the importance of healthy eating during your recovery
• Provide education about your specific needs
Members of the Nutrition Service staff can also help you select menu items for your diet.
Each of the rehabilitation doctors at Mary Free Bed is board-certified in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
While all of them have extensive residency or fellowship training treating patients with a wide variety of rehabilitation needs, each has at least one special interest area. Your physician is selected based on his or her level of expertise with your injuries or illness as well as other medical conditions you may have.
Your care managers have specialty training in counseling brain injury patients and help you:
• Learn about and adjust to your injury
• Ensure your family is educated about your needs
• Act as a liaison between your family and the treatment team as well as insurance company representatives
• Make preparations for your return home
• Provide information about community services that may be helpful
With the goals of improving oral intake, your communication skills and thought process, and providing respiratory support, your speech-language pathologists help you with:
• Thinking, learning, memory and problem solving
• Speaking and improving breath support and respiratory function
• Voice and fluency
• Swallowing and eating
In addition to therapy, your speech-language pathologist will teach you coping mechanisms to help overcome deficits from your brain injury. They can also help your loved ones learn the best ways to communicate with you.
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists
Recreation specialists build on what other therapists do and help you get back into your community. Your recreation specialists:
• Identify what activities you enjoyed before your injury or illness and create a plan to help you do those activities again
• Help you strengthen weak muscles or learn different movements to regain skills, modify existing leisure or recreational equipment, or help you learn to use a completely new piece of adapted equipment if necessary
• Take you on outings to practice the skills you’ve been learning in therapy
The Mary Free Bed YMCA is a national model for inclusion and home to the Mary Free Bed sports teams and clinics.