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A Community Band Member gets a Second Chance through Recreational Therapy

Research shows that recreational therapy restores a sense of purpose and enjoyment to a patient. David Robrahn is no exception.

On September 11, 2012, David clipped the back of a moving car with his motorcycle. After arriving at the hospital, doctors realized he sustained several serious injuries including, a broken right hand, a broken knee, a shattered leg and a brain hemorrhage.

David doesn’t remember the first month after his accident, but his wife knew there was only one choice for therapy. She requested him to be taken to the Brain Injury Program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

As David fully regained consciousness, he was ready to get moving.

“After a couple days of getting in and out of the wheelchair with the harness, I was worried about moving on to the parallel bars because I had no upper body strength,” David recalls. “But the therapists are so motivating.”

Two days later, David progressed to only using a walker. He used the walker for the rest of his inpatient stay.

While occupational, physical, and speech therapists were encouraging David to push himself further, something in recreational therapy really touched his heart.

“When they first asked me what I liked to do, I wasn’t sure what to say,” David said. “Even before the accident, I wasn’t really much of a physical guy, I just like to read and play in my community band.”

When David’s recreational therapist, Brianne Taylor, told him that he could participate in the Allendale Community Jazz Band as the main portion of his recreational therapy, David admits he just started crying.

“I was still in my wheelchair for the most part when they first took me to participate in the band,” David said. “During the outing, I was able to play my trumpet and nearly forgot that I was in an accident.”

The Allendale Community Jazz Band plays at various places in the Allendale and Grand Rapids area. The band was even invited to play for patients at Mary Free Bed in December.

In March, when David graduated inpatient therapy he transitioned from the walker to a cane. During outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed, he works hard every day in hopes to walk without the cane. He even walks the hospital hallways for practice while visiting his former therapists, and other staff he formed lasting relationships with.

“It’s like a big hug here at Mary Free Bed,” David said. “Where else can you go where every single person treats you like you’re a family member? They’d just do anything for you.”

Because of his wonderful and fulfilling experience at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, David plans on giving back through volunteering at the hospital as soon as his outpatient therapy is complete.

David continues to participate in the jazz band. He is thankful that recreational therapy allowed him to participate in a hobby that he loves. David is excited to perform again at Mary Free Bed with the Allendale Community Jazz Band on April 22, 2013.

One Comment


Dave’s a great guy, and R/T is a tremendous program which was developed right here in West Michigan. Both are blessings wherever they’re found.

Thanks for your well-written article, Kelsey.


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